Sneak-peak of documentary to premiere at Light Gives Heat event

Teresa Hansow with the local Light Gives Heat project inspects some hand-made jewelry recently arrived from Uganda.

Keep rockin’ the Suubi!

That’s the motto of Light Gives Heat, a local non-profit organization that imports and sells handmade Suubi necklaces and purses made by women in Uganda.

Suubi is an African word meaning hope, and that’s what the money means for the African women who spin colorful pieces of recycled paper around needles to make handmade beads.

Profits from the jewelry give the women hope for a better life, medical attention and education for their children, plus food for their families.

Light Gives Heat was founded by Dave and Morgan Hansow. The couple graduated from Fruita Monument High School, married, then moved to Uganda in an effort to speed up the adoption process of their little girl, Jayden.

In Uganda, they witnessed the hardships that the village women faced and wondered how they could make a difference in their daughter’s homeland.

That trip changed the course of the Hansow’s lives.

Dave and Morgan began Light Gives Heat, based in Grand Junction, to provide a consistent weekly income to the women. They also found volunteers to live near Jinji to help teach the women about health and other education issues critical to their survival.

To help explain the symbiosis between the women and the organization, founders Dave and Morgan Hansow sent a film crew to Danita, one of the villages that is supported by the sales of Suubi necklaces.

The crew filmed a full-length documentary that tells the stories of these women’s lives and the journeys that led them to become Suubi necklace makers.

“It’s not about our organization,” said Natalie Reeder, administrative assistant for Light Gives Heat, “it’s about a hopeful message that we want to spread to the people here in the States.”

The sneak-preview of the documentary will premiere at 7 p.m. May 7 at the organization’s store and warehouse at 2507 Weslo Ave. in Grand Junction.

The event is free and open to the public. There will be live acoustic music by Rachel Dawson and Tim Brown, plus prizes and food. A raffle for a flat-screen television set will also take place.

Most importantly, Reeder said, the event is intended to introduce the community to the efforts being made by the organization and drawing attention to these women in Africa in an effort to make their lives better.

“We want people to know that it’s not really about us helping Africa,” Reeder said, “but we’re seeing how Africa can help us.”

The inspiring documentary not only shows the hardships of being a woman in an African village, but “shows how joyous they are in the midst of such circumstances,” Reeder said.

The completed film will be entered into several film festivals and used to continue to spread awareness about Light Gives Heat.

The newest shipment of necklaces and bags will be available for purchase at the open house.

Suubi products are available nationwide and in Canada at surf shops, unique boutiques and fair trade stores.

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 242-1958 or visit




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