Also Know As: Love
Lovetta Conto is no ordinary girl. Born in Liberia, Africa on the brink of war, Lovetta was forced to leave her mother & move with her father to a refugee camp in Ghana. Although the camp housed over 47,000 displaced Africans, Lovetta managed to stand out in her community. She helped build a school for children with no families at the camp, and helped advocate for special education for disabled children because of her blind friend.
At the camp, Strongheart Fellowship founder Cori Stern spotted Lovetta. She met with other members of the team, and based on her “inner resilience and exceptional leadership aptitude,” she was chosen to be the first “Strongheart Fellow”.
Lovetta was brought to America and has since grown immensely as an individual. She is now seventeen, and has learned to read and write. She has also created her own jewelry line, Akawelle, a name that comes from the term “aka – also known as” and “wel’le” which means love in Lovetta’s native language.
The necklace Lovetta designed is made from bullets that came from Libera. Although the conflict in Liberia ended in 2003, thousands of shell casings from bullets are found scattered across the land. The bottom of the bullet shell is included on the necklace, as well as a handcrafted leaf pendant made from melted bullet shells.
“I chose the word “life” to be inscribed into the leaf to remind myself that new life can begin after hardship. It is even possible for new life to arise from something as terrible as war. Men and women can both wear the bullet and leaf. It’s strong – I hope they remind each person who wears them that no matter what they’ve been through, they can rise.”
A friend of my mom’s gave her one of the necklaces that Lovetta makes. My mom, inspired by the story and knowing that she would probably never actually wear the piece, mailed it to me. I got it in the mail today, and I already plan to wear the necklace all the time. I love the message of her cause, and how much incredible work she is doing with her life. Necklaces are available for sale on the website. They are a bit pricy – the one my mom sent me is priced at $75 – but the proceeds benefit an amazing cause, and if you have the cash to splurge, are totally worth it.
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