In celebration and support of motherhood everywhere, David Yurman is partnering with supermodel Liya Kebede’s charity, Liya Kebede Foundation (LKF), for the second year running. Now through Mother’s Day, up to five percent of retail and online sales will be donated to LKF to provide additional training for healthcare workers in hospitals and maternity health centers in Ethiopia, where the maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. Liya took a few minutes to speak with us about her foundation, their goals, her favorite Yurman pieces, and her own mother:
How did you become an advocate for maternal health in developing countries? When I became a mother and came to understand the terrible inequity—that millions of women and newborns in developing countries were dying during pregnancy and childbirth every year—I had to get involved. Moms are central to the well-being of the entire family and it doesn’t take a medical breakthrough to save them. Almost all maternal deaths are preventable. I believe it is one of the greatest challenges of our time to ensure we can extend skilled maternity to women everywhere.
What have been some of your greatest triumphs since founding LKF, and what are some of your current goals? I’m proud of how many people we’ve been able to influence with messaging about why this issue is so important. When I launched LKF it was important to me that no mother’s death go unchallenged, and we’re making progress. At the maternity center we support in Ethiopia, 7,000 women have given birth safely and our goal is to multiply this in the years ahead by supporting maternal health education and training in more communities.
Tell us a little bit about your partnership with David Yurman. I’m looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day with David Yurman this year. They care about their customers and what matters most to them. This shows in everything from their beautiful designs and high-level service, and to their strong commitments to causes and organizations that are working to make the world a better place for women.
What type of support do the funds from this partnership provide for mothers in need—are they targeted to specific initiatives? Thanks to our partnership, in a major district in central Ethiopia, we’ll launch new specialized trainings for midwives and health extension workers who are the first line of service in rural communities where moms have had few options for good care.
What are some of your favorite David Yurman pieces? So many! This spring I’m excited to wear their Initial Charm Necklace with Diamonds from the Cable Collectables Collection. I wear two together to represent my children’s initials.
Since your foundation—and the partnership—are all about celebrating and supporting motherhood, we’d love to know: what are some of the things your own mother taught you? How will you be celebrating her this year? My mom is the problem solver in our family. Nothing seemed too big or difficult when she sets her mind to figuring it out. It’s a lesson I’ve carried forward especially in my work with the Foundation. I’ll have some of our favorite Ethiopian dishes and be thinking of her as I spend the day with my children this year.
Are there other ways DEPARTURES readers can support your mission? Please follow our work, spread the word about this important issue to your networks, and encourage your readers to make a donation, because the more people are actively engaged, the more impact for moms.