Designer Gabriela Hearst and Save the Children President & CEO Carolyn Miles meet with a woman and her family in Turkana County, Kenya, in July 2017. Photo: Peter Caton/Save the Children
Hearst speaks with a local Save the Children staff member about the drought and how it has affected the community in Turkana County, Kenya, in July 2017. Photo Credits: Peter Caton/Save the Children
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 25, 2017)— "Currently, 1 in 8 children under 5 years old in parts of the region now suffers from severe acute malnutrition and is at risk of dying from drought-related hunger," says Hearst. After a recent trip to the region, the designer is urging immediate action. "We can’t continue to think that starvation is a problem of past generations or our parent’s global problem, this is real and happening right now in front of us. It is time to act as humane global citizens and make this aid immediately available."
Famine is now threatening more than 20 million children and families in Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and neighboring countries. The United Nations is calling this the worst humanitarian emergency since World War II. Save the Children is providing lifesaving support to children and families across the region, and to raise much-needed awareness of these efforts, New York-based designer Gabriela Hearst is partnering with NET-A-PORTER and Bergdorf Goodman to make her handbag collection available to the public forthe first time.
Gabriela is pledging to donate $600,000 in support of Save the Children’s famine relief efforts, which she hopes will encourage other donors to step forward and support these vital efforts. Gabriela’s donation will provide cash grants of around $55 per month to more than 1,0000 families in the Turkana region through the next harvest. These grants will give families the ability to purchase life-sustaining food, livestock and clean water to help them survive the drought.
Gabriela’s handbags currently have a lengthy wait-list which averages to 1,500 names at any given time. From October 1 to 8, the handbags will be available for the first time online at NET-A-PORTER and Berdgorf Goodman, as well at the New York City Bergdorf Goodman store. Shoppers can show their support by purchasing a handbag during this limited time offer. The purchase of the product does not affect the donation.
From October 1 to October 8 2017, the Gabriela Hearst handbag collection will be available for immediate purchase for the first time at NET-A-PORTER, Bergdorf Goodman in NY, and bergdorfgoodman.com. The collection ranges from $1,995 to $16,000 USD and is available in Nappa, Calf, Suede, Snake, and Croc skins.
The humanitarian situation in Kenya alone is extremely alarming with the number of families in need of food reaching 3.4 million, especially in rural Turkana County, where Hearst visited, in July 2017. The trip coincided with the first-ever joint fundraising campaign by eight of the world’s leading US-based international relief organizations, including Save the Children. "We know that children are always the most vulnerable in any crisis," says Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. "Gabriela and I witnessed this first-hand during our time in Kenya, where so many children and their mothers are on the brink of starvation."
"Having grown up on a farm, I can understand what it means to lose your livestock ," says Hearst. "They are not only a source of milk and meat but are used as currency; livelihoods are linked to it. The Turkana women now have to find alternative sources of income. They are impressive in their strength and bravery. The women build their own houses, care for their children, dig holes with their own hands on dry river beds for water and carry the containers for miles. Their sheer intent to persevere is inspiring. I feel that it is essential to support the Turkana people and their pastoral community so they can survive this drought."
"We’ve always admired Gabriela’s sense of global responsibility within the fashion world, so when she approached us to help raise awareness for the humanitarian crisis in Kenya, we jumped at the opportunity. We’re committed to supporting the vital work that Save the Children is doing to bring basic human necessities to the children and families of Turkana, and will proudly do our part to raise awareness within the NET-A-PORTER community." said Alison Loehnis, President of NET-A-PORTER.
"While in Turkana, I learned that more than 1,000 families in need were not being reached by Save the Children due to lack of funds. To reach them with cash grants through to the next harvest several months from now, Save the Children calculated it would cost around $600,000 and that is what I am committed to donate," says Hearst.
Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.