ICYMI: Lilly Singh, #GirlLove, and How She's Giving Education to Girls in Africa
Originally Posted in 2017
FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, massive YouTuber Lilly Singh has contributed to girls in Africa getting an education.
Lilly Singh has travelled to Kenya twice with the goal to help women sustain jobs so that they can afford to send their daughters to school so that they can get a real education. Paired up with the charity MeToWe, Singh has designed a piece of jewelry called a Rafiki. Rafiki is Swahili for "friend" or "comrade", making this piece of jewelry a friendship bracelet of sorts. These Rafikis can be worn as a necklace, bracelet, or even an anklet. MeToWe sells many of these, each one for a different purpose; and Singh's purpose is to give these underprivileged young girls and women the education they need and deserve.
"What do your kids want to be?" She had asked these mothers. "And [their answers would be] 'my daughter wants to be a lawyer', and 'my daughter wants to be a doctor'. And then there's me and my friends that are like '[We want to be an] actress, or singer, dancer -- all these things that are probably just out of their realm of reality because they know what they need, and they want to fulfill those needs."
Last year, more than 30,000 of Singh's design were made by African women -- mothers of these girls -- and sold. As a result, according to Singh, 600 girls were given access to education. The money from the Rafikis go to school supplies, school fees, and school uniforms. These pieces of jewelry are completely handmade, and last year Singh showed the process as she spent time with the mothers she's trying to help support.
To make a Rafiki, after choosing the colors of the beads, you put them into a bowl. You then take a needle with thread attached, and dip the needle into the bowl, making each Rafiki unique in how the colors come together. These women do this for their jobs, and the money goes to them so that they can afford to send their children to school as aforementioned.
This year Singh has spread her campaign wider. Last year they sold and shipped these handmade Rafikis to 43 countries, and now MeToWe will be shipping them to 223 countries. Over 5 times the amount of countries they sold and shipped to this time last year.
And already, Singh has reached her goal of selling 16,000 of these 'Girl Love' Rafikis. As of the writing of this article, she has sold over 21,000 of this year's gold design.
The campaign is over, but you can still buy these Rafikis and support these girls in Africa -- helping them get an education.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM. Find her on Twitter.