When Angelina visited Kenya last year she was photographed at some type of event that we wasn’t completely sure of what it was but it was actually a fashion show for RefuSHE. Yet another cause that Angelina and the Jolie-Pitt Foundation supports and you can read more about it in the Harper’s Bazaar article below or in our press archive. And go to RefuSHE to check out the scarfs and accessories available for sale and/or donate to the cause!
In all her years as an Academy Award–winning actress and director, Angelina Jolie—the most glamorous woman on the planet—never went to a fashion show. “I hadn’t been to one before,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy says of the experience of finding herself seated front row during a visit to a refugee shelter in Nairobi, Kenya, last June. “But it was my kind of runway: the most beautiful girls, survivors with their heads held high, bringing forward their own designs and culture; showing how it’s possible to find your femininity again after it has been brutally attacked.”
The shelter Jolie visited on World Refugee Day is run by RefuSHE, an NGO that seeks to fill a crucial gap in care for girls and young women between the ages of 13 and 23 fleeing Somalia, South Sudan, and other war-torn countries in the region. “All the girls I met had been separated from their families or had seen their parents killed,” says Jolie. “Almost all had suffered sexual violence, and many had given birth after being raped.” RefuSHE provides counseling and shelter and conducts a multidisciplinary education program.
With the support of UNHCR, RefuSHE also encourages economic empowerment by teaching the young women to make colorful scarves using resist-dyeing, a traditional East African technique similar to tie-dye. This gives the refugees a marketable skill that can help set them on a path toward financial independence. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the scarves they make are reinvested into the program and its artisans; since 2010, nearly 70 percent of them have become self-sufficient.