Rebecca Lolosoli's Beadwork Creates Safe Space in Conflict-Stricken Kenya - NBC4 Washington
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Rebecca Lolosoli's Beadwork Creates Safe Space in Conflict-Stricken Kenya

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    Designer Rebecca Lolosoli's beaded jewelry has been showcased throughout the world in Diane von Furstenberg's Spring 2010 Collection, and she's hoping the high-fashion accessories will help a cause close to her heart.

    "This is really the life of our women," Lolosoli said at a recent reception and trunk show held in her honor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

    "It feeds them, it takes their children to school and it uplifts their lives and improve their lives." 

    Recently awarded by Vital Voices for standing up and speaking out for women's rights, Rebecca Lolosoliis the founder of Umoja, a safe tribal space for women in conflict-stricken Kenya. The sale of the beadwork provides many social services for the tribe including education, safety and economic empowerment.

    "Because we fight for our rights, culture will not stop us," said Lolosoli who, like many women in her tribe, has endured beatings, threats and other hardships because of traditional Samburu practices.

    The trunk show showcased Lolosoli's beaded jewelry, the same colorful bead work that can be seen in Diane von Furstenberg’s Spring 2010 Collection. A Vital Voices board member and supporter of women artisans, von Furstenberg met Lolosoli in New York recently to not only support the women in the village but also preserve the traditions of the culture.

    "Many of our women have died silently with no rights," Lolosoli said. "We want to show women that they are also human, that they can do something for themselves, and that they can take care of themselves and their kids."