A symbol of fearlessness, courage and strength, the tiger is an obvious choice for this very special collection. It perfectly coincides with this being my 10 year anniversary of ash hoffman jewelry and 2022 being the year of the tiger on the Chinese calendar!  Back in 2007 and fresh out of college from Clemson University (GO TIGERS!!), I embarked on a life changing trip to Jinja, Uganda. A young, intern architect filled with dreams, I found myself immersed in a country and culture that changed the course of my life in ways I had never anticipated.
If you’ve followed my story from the beginning, you know that those four months in an African country is what changed my course from aspiring architect to jeweler. When I returned home from Uganda, I brought with me $1000 (graciously funded by my father) in Ugandan made paper jewelry which I sold to raise money for Susan, the woman that I lived with while I was there. With the support of my family, local community and friends near and far (I was known around town as “the African bead girl”) we were able to turn that $1000 into $7000. As promised, I transferred that money to Susan and we prayed over what she would do with it. She helped so many, providing education, resources and funding for local ministries.
Over the years, we’ve kept in touch and had many failed attempts to see each other in person. I’ve always asked what can I do to help, but honestly never followed through because I let life across the globe get in the way. I started my business, got married, had babies, and most days I am just trying to keep my head above water. But I still think of Susan often and wonder what can I do? I often ask her too!
In 2021, I reached out to my friends Allison and Jason Denton of Fin First to design a tiger tee. I wanted to gift it to my Dad and stepdad for Father’s Day because we are all such big Tiger fans and they are hard to buy for. The design was perfect but Allison, being the thoughtful storyteller that she is took it one step further and said, “what is a cause you want to consider to donate part of the proceeds to?”  I pondered, penned, deleted and re-typed for months and finally it hit me… Susan in Uganda. 

Clemson University led me to Uganda. My dad and stepdad supported and funded me every step of the way. Susan showed me strength and courage and fearlessness every day I was there on foreign land. An absolute Woman of God, she is the epitome of a devout servant. Never married and no children, she has committed her life to Christ and He has given her more cubs than her arms can carry. She is a Tiger. 

Susan most recently became the founder and Managing Director for Pambazuka Ministries located in Buyenda, Eastern Uganda. Pambazuka, which means “dawn” in Swahili is at its take off stage. Susan’s objectives include empowering the communities to manage and embrace sustainable discipleship programs, humanitarian programs, and social economic programs namely Education, Health, Wealth, and Environment.
Pambazuka Children's Rescue Village is part of their Humanitarian programs. It will enable them to provide care to vulnerable and orphaned children and teenagers in the district. Pambazuka farms will be part of their Social Economic programs to help them model modern Agriculture and Industrialisation. The farms will be used to empower the community by helping train, give startups to qualifying participants, follow-up, monitor and eventually market their products. 

What does all this have to do with a tiger t shirt? The answer is EVERYTHING. The fearlessness, courage and strength for Susan to embark on this new journey and ministry is inspiring. I’m in awe of her faithfulness and humility in every thing she does. For EVERY piece of tiger inspired apparel and jewelry sold, I will be donating 50% to Pumbazuka to help support Susan's ministry and her dreams just like she supported mine all those years ago as a 23 year old girl from South Carolina. Every t-shirt, hoodie, hat, patch, or sticker will be a reminder of the fearlessness, courage and strength that lives within each of us. I never thought that a four month trip to Uganda and a $1000 in paper jewelry would have impacted my life in such a big way. But it did, and it still is. Thank you for being a part of this beautiful journey.