Frustrated by the lack of US news coverage of the famine in East Africa, where twenty million people are on the brink of starvation due to droughts, NYC-based designer Gabriela Hearst travelled to Turkana County, Kenya, with Save the Children’s president and CEO Carolyn Miles to see the devastation firsthand, meet many of the affected families, and participate in the organization’s relief efforts. “There’s nothing,” Hearst told Vogue. “The livestock are dying, and livestock is not just their source of food, it’s their currency. There’s no river, so the women dig holes on the dry riverbed for hours to get water.”
To help offset these effects, from October 1 to 8, Gabriela Hearst will sell four of her bags at Net-a-Porter and Bergdorf Goodman (until now they’ve only been available by email request via her e-commerce site with a waitlist that averages 1,500 names), with proceeds going to Save the Children’s relief efforts in the drought-stricken country. “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”, the designer has said.
While in Turkana, Hearst also learned that more than 1,000 families in need were not being
reached by Save the Children due to lack of funds. Next week, the bags selling at Net-a-Porter and Bergdorf Goodman will net funds to be donated to the Turkana families not currently covered by Save the Children's transfer program. "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,” Hearst states.
Stay tuned for when the four styles launch October 1.