Adventures in gift giving – Akawelle jewelry
I realize that the last post I did on holiday gift giving was about a jewelry line that gives to charity, so I hesitated a bit when I came across a line called Akawelle, because I like to mix it up. But after learning about this line and its creator, I had to share.
Lovetta Conto gives new meaning to the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The 15-year-old fled from Liberia to Ghana at age 4, living in various refugee camps for nine years. In Ghana, she worked as a volunteer to build schools and advocate for children with special needs. Due to Conto’s humanitarian work, she was given a Strongheart Fellowship, through which she was able to launch her line of jewelry called Akawelle.
Conto collects the bullet casings left from the Liberian civil war and turns them into pendants and charms, many of which are engraved with the word “life.” Profits from the line support the Strongheart House, an organization in Liberia that helps other kids who have been displaced by war or poverty.
Next Thursday, Conto may be recognized for her efforts on a global scale. She is a finalist for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Bishop Desmond Tutu will announce the winner at a ceremony at The Hague.
Lemonade indeed. Akawelle jewelry can be purchased here.
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Photo: Bullet casings carpet a street in Monrovia, Liberia, in 2003. Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times.