Sunday, December 9, 2007

International Rescue Committee - The IRC

Another organization that D4A will be working with to raise funds is The IRC . IRC works in multiple countries across the world helping refugees/displaced families including Iraq and Congo where there is a lot of violence and terrified families.

While going through the site, came across their blogs about IRC helping in Jordan where they opened doors for Iraqi refugees recently. It had a sweet story by Melissawinkler of a happy moment there. In another blog, another story unveiled that is so disturbing and makes you wonder what is going on in Africa. This story is about raping of Congo women and girls which just shows how many different problems that great continent is facing. Hundreds of thousands are displaced in North Kivu due to violence particularly in the Rutshuru district and the nearby hospital is under-resourced (ofcourse!) while lot of cases are coming in with malaria, respiratory infections that could be life-threatening if not treated.

In the Invisible children case, children couldn't sleep at home in fear of terrorists abducting them and so walk miles to a city/town to sleep in the hospital and bus parks. In the Congo women's case, they too are afraid of sleeping at home and so go into the forest to sleep. IRC is responding with emergency aid and launching counseling services and training health workers on clinical care for victims or rape. It must be equally hard on the aid workers too to be in the middle of war zone and provide the counselling and medical aid.

While I can't imagine how long and how many organizations/people effort its going to take to get all these regions settled and restore peace and basic human needs, I keep wondering how many years/generations its going to take to actually heal these deep wounds on their hearts!.

Kudos to IRC for providing such awesome services everywhere there is a need.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fundraiser for Drop in the Bucket

It took a little while to streamline everything and get the blog added to the Designers4Africa website. April sent some pictures from the annual fundrasier for "Drop in the Bucket" to share with everyone. "Drop in the Bucket" is another non-profit organization that D4A supports. Its an organization started by a group of friends and their mission is to provide safe drinking water to African villages. It started in Fall of 2006 (just a little over an year) and already have 6 wells done and working on their 7th one. Check out their website for more info.

Quite a few designers donated exquisite pieces for this fundraising event. Ivy and Natalie of Dixie Chicks were there. Sounds like a fun party:)

I will try to get more juicy details about the party but thought I will share some of the pictures of the jewelry. Here's one by AprilStarDavis jewelry. Beautiful Smokey Quartz roundelles handwrapped with a Labradorite pendant. Gorgeous isn't it.

This is an exquisite necklace by Kuumba Divine Jewelry. A choker of gold vines with chockful of Pearls to make any woman feel special. I love the wild look of it yet the Pearls somehow make it delicate.

This elegant beauty was donated by Me&Ro and is called "Loveheart" with a Sterling Silver heart pendat in the center and Garnets individually handwrapped and is sure to make anyone peek at it twice.

This Limited Edition necklace set is by TraceyMathew designs. Simple coral in its natural shape with a few drops handwrapped - would make a great addition to anyone's jewelry collection.

Lastly, here's a pciture of how funt he party was....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Invisible Children

I thought I will start off a series of blogs talking about the current non-profit organizations that D4A work with. well, Invisible Children came to my mind and I started to look for info. After Fiona pointed me to the official website for Invisible Children, I had to see the movie ofcourse.

I have read and seen a lot of documentaries/movies before on various themes from poverty to how women/children treated but this movie took me by quite a surprise. I guess the description should have given me some hint but that went unregistered. Couldn't stop crying throught out the movie. I know its not about me here but just wanted to say that it moved me soo much. Maybe because now I am a mother and can't imagine my little one going through anything even remotely close to what I saw in the movie.

I will take a little time to gather info about the IC, its projects and ties with Africa but let me start off with imploring all of you to take an hour of your time to watch this movie.

--Sheela Rayala

Here's the movie synopsis from the Invisible Children website.

Invisible Children: Rough Cut Movie Synopsis:
What started out as a film-making adventure in Africa, transformed into much more, when the three young American’s Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Poole) original travels took a divine turn, and they found themselves stranded in
Northern Uganda. They discovered children being kidnapped nightly from their homes and subsequently forced to become fight as child soldiers. This film is dedicated to exposing this tragic, and amazingly untold story.

Even at this moment, in Uganda, Children as young as 8 are methodically kidnapped from their homes by a rebel group called the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA). The abducted children are then desensitized to the horror of brutal violence and killing, as they themselves are turned into vicious fighters. Some escape and hide in constant fear for their lives. Most remain captive, and grow to maturity with no education other than life “in the bush” and fighting in a guerilla war. Of the many ramifications that a 20 -year-long war can cause, the film “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” highlights what the community refers to as “NIGHT COMMUTERS.” We watch thousands of children “commute” out of fear, from their villages to nearby towns each night in order to avoid the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) abductions. They sleep in public places, vulnerable, and without supervision.

This film focuses in on 4 young boys: Jacob, Thomas, Tony, and Boni. Through their eyes, we relive the terror of abduction, courage of survival, the heartbreak of losing a brother, and the innate joy- found only in a child. The three filmmakers (Jason, Bobby, and Laren) were amazed to find many things in common between these kids and kids in America, themselves included.

As the three left Northern Uganda, they were appalled by what they had seen, and yet, in awe of the resilience and hope they found in these children, and this community. The filmmakers thought: How could such an atrocity exist for such a long
time, without the world knowing? Believing that the “invisible children’s” story could inspire others to do something, as it did them, they created a documentary, which we now know as the “Invisible Children: Rough Cut”.

They originally screened the film in June 2004 for friends and family and soon expanded to high schools, colleges, and organizations. After audiences viewed the movie, one question repeatedly surfaced, “what can we do?”
And so, a nonprofit was birthed out of a film.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A special moment with Jolly Okot...

The most important person to wear my jewelry & you have probally never heard of her..

Jolly Okot, Country Director, Uganda

Jolly is our inside informant, our African mother, and our friend. "Invisible Children" is proud of Jolly's recent nomination for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, for her rehabilitation efforts in Northern Uganda. Jolly has been an inspiration to us all, and we are honored to have her work with us to end the repression In Northern Uganda through education. Jolly has been working through her own foundation "H.E.A.L.S.", a play therapy program which has now merged with IC toward the execution of the Invisible Children Education Program. She is responsible for advising any IC staff on culture and tradition, and keeping the program running in Uganda.

Jolly is a devoted daughter, sister, wife, and mother. When Jolly is not working for the children in Northern Uganda, she is at home with own children: Daniel, Davis, and Danika (or "baby D"), and her loving husband, Emmy.I had the pleasure of meeting Jolly , Davis & baby D when they were here in USA for the IC Displace me event.... My friend Fiona who volunteers with Invisible Children brought them to my little house & we went in back to my tiny studio... like most women we all played with the jewelry trying on different styles & combos & Jolly picked out a beautiful gold & tourmaline necklace & gold lotus hoop earrings... She looked at herself & said she felt like a movie star!Well like Ive said many times shes far more than any movie star!

Im honored & delighted to have my craft bring joy to such am amazing women & in all honesty thats who my jewelry is for! Amazing women!!!


Welcome to our new blog

Welcome to the Designers4Africa blog. Designers4Africa is a non-profit organization is made by the group of designers, businesses and authors that want to do more in the fight to end global poverty. We aim to do this by donating( 4 items min. yearly ) to non profits . we will help non profits raise much needed funds…most of us here are involved in charitable giving however we all know in our industry there are loads of samples & extras , this is a way to put them to the best use possible!John Travis from Drop in the Bucket has refereed to it as artistic recycling
Non profits that we support currently: Invisible Children (clinic fund run by Fiona Wolfe), IHFonline & Drop In the Bucket.

In the next few days, we will share insights from people like Fiona Wolfeof Invisible Children, John Travis of Drop in the Bucket and musings of April ( and her vision of Designers4Africa.

Stay tuned….