Handmade traditional African artwork will be offered for sale by the local nonprofit group Voices of Hope, during its holiday "Party for a Purpose" on Saturday.
Craft items include mud-cloth scarves, soapstone and wood carvings and lots of jewelry, said Theo Dobie, the group's assistant director.
Some of the pieces were handmade by students whom Voices of Hope supports in Kenya, Dobie said.
Rachael Tengbom of Kennewick started the organization in 2003 to fight ceremonial female genital mutilation by funding education for Kenyan girls and offering them a safe house.
The fundraiser will help pay for college education for the girls, said Tengbom, a member of the Maasai tribe.
The organization is sponsoring nine girls who are attending college in Kenya, she said. Once a girl is educated and has a job she is safe from the practice of female circumcision.
It costs $100 per month to sponsor one girl, Tengbom said.
December is when most female genital mutilations happen, Tengbom said. The girls return from boarding school to their families with the end of the school year.
Tengbom said her mother saved her from the traditional practice that the Maasai tribe uses to mark a girl's entry into adulthood. After circumcision, they are considered ready for marriage.
The World Health Organization defines female genital mutilation as the partial or total removal of the external genitalia or injuring the genitalia for nonmedical purposes.
WHO estimates 3 million African girls are at risk of mutilation each year. The procedures can cause lasting problems, including increased risk of childbirth complications, infertility and recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections.
Saving even one girl from the practice is a success, Tengbom said. The girls that the nonprofit has supported with the help of Tri-Cities donors are becoming examples in their communities.
"They have jobs," Tengbom said. "They are going back to their communities and making a difference."
The fundraiser costs $25 per person and is being held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at a Richland home. Food, including traditional Kenyan dishes, will be provided. To RSVP and get the address, call Dobie at 438-7898.
Donations also can be sent to Voices of Hope at P.O. Box 6563, Kennewick, 99336.