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Sierra Leonean Women Prisoners Find Ally In AdvocAid

Drawing on her own experiences with unjust incarceration, British trained lawyer Sabrina Mahtani has devoted her life to bringing legal aid and educational resources to some of Sierra Leone’s most forgotten citizens. Ms. Mahtani started the organization AdvocAid as a way to help the poverty stricken women who go neglected in many of Sierra Leone’s squalid prisons. The organization, which was founded in 2006, provides legal counsel to women who, due to illiteracy, poverty, corruption, or a mixture of the thereof, end up imprisoned with little to no legal recourse. More often than not these women are railroaded through the judicial system, completely oblivious to their rights.


"Women in our society are always discriminated against," says Abdul Sidique, a human rights official with the United Nations in Freetown. "We have customary law that ... always takes women as second-class citizens."

AdvocAid has helped many women overturn unlawful convictions, and fight cases they would be otherwise unable to dispute. In addition, the organization provides a variety of services for these women once they are released, including job training and financially supporting those who have been abandoned by their families.

Sabrina Mahtani knows the importance of legal advocacy and building support networks for the falsely accused. Her father was imprisoned for treason in her homeland of Zambia, but he was acquitted because he had two advantages that many women in Sierra Leone do not, an education and a lawyer. With AdvocAid, Sabrina Mahtani hopes to spread those advantages to any woman she can.

For more, read the full story here.

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Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Qatar Museums

Influential Louis Vuitton And Off-White Designer Virgin Abloh, Dies at 41

The popular Ghanian-American designer had been battling a rare form of cancer in private for several years.

The fashion industry has lost a talented, unique, and boundary-pushing influence this weekend.

41-year-old Ghanianian-American designer Virgil Abloh has died after a 2 year battle with a rare form of cancer, a statement from his associates LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said on Sunday. Abloh, founder of luxury streetwear brand Off-White, and artistic director of men's wear at French fashion house Louis Vuitton leaves his wife Shannon, and 2 children - Lowe and Grey. Chairman and CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault said in a statement, "We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom." "The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother, or their friend," he added.

After the news broke on Sunday, Abloh started trending on Twitter, with fans of the designer remembering his influence on music, art, and fashion. The 1990s saw Abloh DJ and the creative director once told The Guardian in a 2016 interview, "When the phone is off, I play my favorite songs really loud for myself, and I'm not talking to anyone. I'm not managing anything. It's just like a time when I can listen to music… I'll be DJing after I'm done designing or doing anything else." Virgil got his hands into designing album artworks after strumming up a friendship with American rapper Kanye West before becoming the creative director of West's DONDA Creative House. More recently known for his creative streetwear brand 'Off-White' the designer became popular among fashion-conscious youngsters and will forever be immortalized.

A statement posted to Abloh's Instagram explained that "Virgil chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture"

Friends, fans, and colleagues took to social media to share their well-wishes for Virgil as he transitions to his next destination.



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How Relocating to Ghana Helped Reinvigorate Jewelry Designer Aisha Asamany's Work

Moving to Ghana gave Aisha Asamany's luxury jewelry brand, inspired by Adinkra symbols that traditionally project strength, fearlessness, love and power, renewed verve to tell personal stories of her growing clientele.