Amber Koonce is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the summer after her first-year at UNC, Koonce traveled to Ghana to teach at a prison school for women. There, she noticed children were playing with dolls, most of which were white. She perceived that some of the young girls were developing an inferiority complex because their hair and skin color was different.
“In Africa, a gap between a woman’s two front teeth is considered the standard of beauty,” Koonce says. “I learned that you have to be careful not to project your ideas and experiences on a different culture.”
Back in North Carolina, Koonce started a nonprofit organization named BeautyGap that collects dolls and donations for dolls that are distributed to children of color around the world. For her efforts, Koonce was dubbed “The Social Entreprenuer” and selected as one of America’s top 10 college role models by Glamour magazine.