On Thursday, Jan. 27, from 5 to 9 p.m. the public is invited to the Opening Night of UNITE The World With Africa's SANJAN photography exhibit at the award-winning ROSIE Restaurant in New Canaan at 27 Elm St.

ROSIE husband-and-wife owners Rosie and George Nammack have partnered with UNITE's executive director, Darienite Anne Wells, and Newtown artist and stylist Joanne Keane, to introduce SANJAN and UNITE's "ASHE Collection" to the public for the first time ever in the United States.

"We're thrilled and honored to launch SANJAN and The ASHE Collection in partnership with ROSIE," said Wells, a mother of three, who first envisioned UNITE The World With Africa in 2008 to connect Americans with the people of East Africa in direct, hands-on and meaningful ways. Last summer, New Canaan CARES Executive Director Meg Domino and daughter Alyssa, a student at New Canaan High, accompanied Wells to Tanzania, with her group of 17, to teach and lead public and community health trainings in various villages.

"Rosie and George have generously given us ROSIE as a space in which to educate, celebrate, and motivate ... all in efforts to rally even greater support for the women and people of East Africa," she said.

The opening night event will include the wall art and a "trunk show" of items that are premiering in UNITE's new online store, The ASHE Collection, (ASHE means "thank you" in Maasai), which also launches Jan. 27. Items include Italian styled Maasai jewelry, sandals and belts, Indian down sail bags and more.

"I am so happy to be part of this effort. There are no accidents, and by meeting Anne Wells I have been able to touch an East African woman's life and make a difference," sROSIE co-owner and co-founder Rose Nammack said.

To bring SANJAN and the ASHE Collection to the States, Wells partnered with South Norwalk Ad Agency MILK. Together MILK and UNITE are working hand-in-hand to build a national audience for these new African styles -- not only to recreate the way the world thinks of art and fashion but also to empower and uplift local people in communities where resources are scarce. All UNITE profits support UNITE's work with its partners to grow women's health, education and microfinance programs throughout East Africa.

"I love the idea of helping isolated artists reach a bigger market while also empowering Americans to learn from African culture," Joanne Keane, a Newtown artist who orchestrated the UNITE exhibit at ROSIE, said. "This is a unique opportunity for everyone to win!"

UNITE The World With Africa, LLC, is a social organization officially founded in January 2010 by Anne Wells to support women's health, education and microfinance programs in Tanzania. Together with its partners, UNITE empowers and facilitates meaningful giving and service opportunities between Americans and Tanzanians. UNITE organizes humanitarian outreach tours to Africa in which participants are partnered with their peer-counterparts to share their time and talents in targeted and noteworthy ways.

To discover how these experiences transform the lives of all those involved, visit www.unitetnz.org. To learn more about The ASHE Collection, visit www.ashecollection.com.