Shelley Perry gives helping hand to country of adopted son

by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Shelley Perry brought home her adopted son, Endrias, just before Christmas last year. Because of Endrias, Perry is now reaching out to the nation of Ethiopia.Shelley Perry knew her journey to Ethiopia was going to change her life.

After all, the West Linn woman was going there to arrange for the adoption of her 5-year-old son, Endrias.

However, she also found a great new purpose for her life and a business that helps Ethiopian artisans help themselves. As an ambassador for the Noonday Collection she is putting money into the hands of people who badly need it. And it won’t just be a giveaway.

As Perry put it, “It’s not a hand down. It’s a hand up.”

If she can help women become more fashionable at the same time, so much the better. The Noonday Collection offers earrings, necklaces, bracelets, sun hats, scarves and more. They are beautiful and unique and they simply cannot be found in a big box store in the U.S. Instead, they come directly from crafters in Third World areas like Africa, Central America and India, and they use some unlikely materials.

“Ethiopian women who are HIV positive collect old weapons, melt them down and make jewelry,” Perry said. “In Ecuador they use seeds from the forest floor. In India they use scraps from a textile mill.”

From these little things a big difference can be made in the lives of people.

“In Ecuador, people live on $1 a day,” Perry said. “Under the Noonday Collection they can earn $26 a day. That is not a whole lot of money, but it’s a big improvement. They also have the dignity of providing for themselves.

“We partner with marginalized groups who live in war-torn areas and give them access to the global market. They receive an opportunity where previously none existed.”

Perry’s connection to Ethiopia started late in 2012 when she and her husband, Jon, decided to adopt an Ethiopian child, to join their family of four.

“I’ve always had a heart for orphans,” Perry said. “I’ve been a sponsor for adoption programs for years. This was the place and time for me to adopt a child of my own. We felt we were ready and we had a home with lots of love.”

Still, it was a shock when Perry went to the city of Addis-Abbeba and saw how the people lived.

“I saw little, little kids in the streets without parents,” Perry said. “It’s intense, emotional and you can’t forget it. I just looked away and cried.”

But Perry noticed something quite interesting — another adoptive mother wearing a beautiful necklace. She asked the woman where she had gotten it.

“She told me the story about how she had gotten the necklace through Noonday Collection,” Perry said. “I loved it. I found that Noonday would fit my life and help me act upon my compassion for Ethiopia.”

Perry now has the time to homeschool her biological children, help her new son adjust to the U.S., and work on a job that can lift up Ethiopian people, so there can be fewer little children alone on the streets. She gives trunk shows in women’s homes and tells the stories behind all of the earrings and necklaces on display. Perry has been stunned by the support for her new work.

“My friends actually shocked me,” she said. “I didn’t realize how they would come up to me and ask how they could help.”

She added, “People are so interested in where their money is going. It’s not just a big box store.”

To find out more about Shelley Perry and Noonday Collection, go to

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