Snacks lining the shelves, books stacked up in great big piles, and clothes thrown every which way. It’s the stereotypical picture of a dorm room, unless you’re Ball State University student Mazie Wathen. Her dorm looks much the same as anyone else’s, but with additional supplies like different-color threads and felt backings.
These materials are there because Mazie hand-makes jewelry in her spare time to help raise money for those forcibly displaced by the war in Afghanistan. In total, she spends about one-to-three hours creating bracelets whenever she has the time and resources available to her.
“I was inspired to [craft] when I started to learn about the war in Afghanistan and the global refugee crisis,” Mazie says. “My junior year of high school, we were told to do an independent study on any topic we wished, and I focused on Afghanistan— trying to learn as much as I could in a single semester. Since that project, it has just stuck with me and continues to be my topic of greatest interest.”
From the time she began her business to now, Mazie has never had the intention of earning any money for herself. And in the time that she has been running her Instagram-based store, she still stays true to this goal.
The financial breakdown looks like this:
“I started this business with my own money and was able to donate 75% of my profits to Exodus Refugee Redemption in Indianapolis, while the extra 25% paid for my materials,” Mazie says. “I also permitted donations for those who did not want bracelets, and 100% of the money donated was given to the welcome center in full and did not contribute to the 25% for materials.”
For two years now, Mazie runs her business intermittently from her home and her dorm. But lately, she has cut back on time spent working on the project in part due to her busy schedule. That’s because in addition to being a businesswoman, Mazie is a first-year student currently pursuing a triple major in political science, Spanish, and French, as well as a minor in peace studies. She is also an honors student and a member of the sorority Alpha Omicron Pi.
“The business started during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I had no restraints or time crunches,” Mazie says.
Although the business may pause on occasion, Mazie’s goal of educating and spreading compassion never has. In addition to opening up her Instagram page to announce new sale dates, Mazie continuously urges anyone interested in the cause to support Afghanistan refugees via Exodus Refugee Redemption.
“Any amount of money helps— funding is used for temporary housing, general necessities, medical care, education, and travel expenses,” Mazie explains.
Mazie has already raised over 700 dollars for Exodus through her business, which goes to show that even the smallest crafts can contribute to a bigger purpose. Those interested in supporting the cause can reach out to her for more information, purchase bracelets, and make donations via direct message on Instagram.
Images: Katie Catterall
Featured Image: Katie Catterall