In 2007, when jewellery designer and mother-of-four Annoushka Ducas MBE first travelled to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, she was touched by stories of families who could no longer support their children. Through no fault of their own, these children would more often than not end up in orphanages, estranged from their families and lost to their mothers. This experience prompted Annoushka to give something back by empowering mothers to be able to provide for their children through the charity Give A Future. “Ethiopia is a rapidly emerging economy but is still plagued by poverty,” she reveals. “In Africa’s political capital, Addis Ababa, Give A Future changes the lives of thousands of women and children.”
Give A Future is a not-for-profit fund launched 10 years ago which invests in children, women and artisans in Addis Ababa. Annoushka specifically supports the micro-finance programme, which provides business training, small loans and practical support, giving women a chance to support themselves and their families. As little as £35 a year can raise these families out of poverty. “These women are truly extraordinary; they are courageous, loving and determined,” Annoushka explains.
Earlier this year, Annoushka returned to Addis Ababa with photographer Amanda Vail to document the lives of some of these women and their children. “I wanted to be as unobtrusive as possible and let my photography tell the very powerful story of Give A Future’s work and how it is transforming so many lives in a very practical way,” Amanda reveals. The captivating and emotional images were on show at the Annoushka Boutique in Cadogan Gardens, London, as part of the continuing Art At Annoushka series.
In conjunction with the photographs, Annoushka has personally selected and designed a one-of-a-kind Ethiopian opal collection. Each of the unique, exquisitely faceted opals has been simply framed in a double halo of warm champagne diamonds and set in elegant black gold to contrast with the light and fire of the opals. Of these pieces, 20% of proceeds will be donated to Give A Future. Shop the collection at Annoushka Boutique, 41 Cadogan Gardens, London SW3 2TB or visit www.annoushka.com.