The teenager who makes jewelry from bullets

By Mark Tutton, for CNN Lovetta Conto jewlery maker
June 24, 2010

Still a teenager, Liberian Lovetta Conto makes jewelry that is worn by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry.

But Conto, 17, is no pampered Hollywood fashionista. She grew up in a Ghanaian refugee camp. And rather than using precious stones in her designs, Conto makes her jewelry from the casings of bullets fired during Liberia’s civil war.

Born in Liberia, she was separated from her mother at the age of 18 months as Conto and her father fled the country to escape its civil war. When she was five they made it to Ghana and spent the next nine years living in a refugee camp with 47,000 other people.

“We had to flee to Ghana and leave my mother behind. We thought we would be safer there because our whole country was ruined,” she told CNN.

“I felt alone because I was in another country where I wasn’t really welcome. I always wanted to go back to my country. But you have no choice because your country is in a civil war and it’s the only place you have to be.”

Conto said her father had to leave her with other families while he went to work, trying to earn enough to send her to school.
“I didn’t really go to school because my dad didn’t have the money to pay my school fees, so I stayed home a lot,” she said.
“Sometimes I would go to school without eating. I went to school hungry a lot and there wasn’t much safe drinking water for people to drink and the water made people sick. There was just a little well and you had to get the water from there, and it wasn’t safe.”

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Anuradha Koirala rescues Nepalese girls from sex slavery

Anuradha Koirala the founder and director of Maiti Nepal

Anuradha Koirala the founder and director of Maiti Nepal

Following an abusive relationship, Anuradha Koirala was prompted to change her life and the lives of other abused women by creating a shelter named “Maiti Nepal,” which roughly translates to “Mother’s Home.”  The shelter has been able to provide advocacy, legal defense, and rehabilitation to thousands of girls trapped into the sex trade, abused, and exploited.  According to the U.S. State Department, some 10,000 to 15,000 women and girls from Nepal are trafficked to India and sexually exploited each year.

Much of the staff working at Maiti Nepal are former brothel and sex trade survivors themselves, who are now committed to reciprocate the help and healing they were once given.  While the group’s short-term priority is to get the girl’s away from harm, their ultimate goal is to “help girls become economically independent and reintegrated into society.”

Koirala and Maiti Nepal have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls since 1993.

To read the full story of her impressive work and Maiti Nepal please go to:

LA Events a Success!

LA Events a success!

LA Events a success!

The two screenings of the new Harvest footage were a great success!

Shine would like to thank the California Endowment, one of the grant supporters of the Harvest, for hosting one of the screenings and Jim Hecht for opening up his home to host the other.

We met a lot of new people interested in the Harvest and in Shine’s work who we hope will continue to follow and support us as well as seeing some faithful supporters.

Thanks to all who came and made the events such a great success!

Stay tuned for the next opportunity to see footage from the Harvest in your area!

U.S. Cracks Down on Farmers Who Hire Children

Child advocates welcomed the new efforts by blueberry growers to keep small children out of the fields,  but they also called for a change in federal law, which allows those 12 and up to work on farms with few limits.

Child advocates welcomed the new efforts but say more needs to be done

From the NYT, June 18, 2010
By Erik Eckholm

WHITE LAKE, N.C. — The Obama administration has opened a broad campaign of enforcement against farmers who employ children and underpay workers, hiring hundreds of investigators and raising fines for labor and wage violators.

A flurry of fines and mounting public pressure on blueberry farmers is only the opening salvo, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said in an interview. Ms. Solis, the daughter of an immigrant farm worker, said she was making enforcement of farm-labor rules a priority. At the same time, Congress is considering whether to rewrite the law that still allows 12-year-olds to work on farms during the summer with almost no limits.

The blueberry crop has been drawing workers to eastern North Carolina for decades, but as the harvest got under way in late May, growers stung by bad publicity and federal fines were scrambling to clean up their act, even going beyond the current law to keep all children off the fields. The growers were also ensuring that the workers, mainly Hispanic immigrants, would make at least the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour….To Read More Click Here.

As FIFA World Cup 2010 kicks off, Zambian youth journalists speak out

MONGU, Zambia, 11 June 2010 –
By Michal Rahfaldt

Zambian children discussing world cup on Radio

Pedrou (left), 18, and Inonge, 14, were trained as youth journalists as part of World Cup in My Village, a project supported by UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and other partners.

For Inonge Sitali, 14, a radio dialogue with peers about the FIFA World Cup 2010 – which kicked off June 11th in South Africa – is more than a casual conversation. It is an opportunity to discuss important gender issues in her local community of Mongu, in western Zambia.

“I disagree with the guys out there who are saying that football cannot be played by girls,” says Inonge. “We all have the right to play any sport.”

The radio discussion is part of ‘World Cup in My Village,’ a youth journalism project supported by UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and other partners in conjunction with the global football tournament. Young reporters trained by the programme are encouraged to document their lives and speak out about the issues affecting their lives.

Young radio reporters

While some of the boys and girls in the group radio discussion agree with Inonge, others are not so convinced.

“Football is a very hard sport, and it requires maximum power to perform, so girls are not suitable to play it,” says Pedrou Kakorio, 18.

Both Pedrou and Inonge were trained in journalism as part of World Cup in My Village. Along with other adolescents in Mongu, Zambia and the Rubavu district of Rwanda, they received audio recorders, cameras and flip video cameras – and were taught the skills needed to tell their own stories.

The project gives young reporters the opportunity to explore pressing concerns in their communities and share their experiences with the rest of the world. Their audio reports will be broadcast on local, national and international radio stations; and additional content will be posted on the Children’s Radio Foundation website and disseminated via social media platforms.

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