Keeping Traditions Alive
The Lemlem Clothing line not only helps preserve traditional crafts and communities that could be lost in the rush of modernisation, but since its inception in 2007, it has also empowered hundreds of workers to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
Appointed a World Health Organisation Goodwill Ambassador for maternal, newborn and child health in 2005, the mother-of-two was so appalled by the rates of preventable deaths in Ethiopia, she set up the Liya Kebede Foundation to focus on international advocacy efforts to improve access to maternal health services in her home country.
It’s this urge to improve the lives of those living in Ethiopia that continues with Lemlem, the clothing line she started in 2007. Lemlem means ‘bloom’ in Amharic — and with it, Liya is helping a group of traditional weavers in Ethiopia to do just that — bloom. “I grew up with people wearing hand-woven clothes — that’s our culture,” she explains.