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Same Sky America empowers women by providing training and employment opportunities. It is a brand that helps women rebuild their lives, reconnect to their creativity, build skills through artistry, and restore confidence. There is need for employment in developing countries, but there is also a serious need right here in our own backyard.
In the United States, 50 million people are currently living below the poverty line, and many have weathered misfortune, struggled to find employment, or were born into unfavorable conditions. Same Sky believes they deserve a second chance. With a vision to provide employment to underserved women, Same Sky, alongside Former Governor Jim McGreevey and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, have launched the Same Sky America Pilot Project in Jersey City.
Founded in 2008, The Same Sky Foundation laid the framework for Same Sky America. Through a trade-not-aid initiative working with HIV+ women survivors of the Rwandan Genocide, Same Sky discovered that employment was the most effective means to long-term empowerment. When women are economically empowered, they reinvest their income into their families and communities.
Inspired by success abroad, Same Sky wanted to bring the ‘hand-up not a handout’ model to the USA. Founder Francine LeFrak had previously produced the award winning HBO film Prison Stories: Women on the Inside, where she shed light on the plight of women in the prison system. Her experience on this film motivated Francine to further pursue her passion for women’s empowerment and creating jobs for people who need it most, and this ultimately led us to find the group of women who would flourish at Same Sky America: those who had met difficulty finding employment after incarceration.
Today Same Sky provides the women of The Most Excellent Way Halfway House, who have recently been released from Hudson County Jail, with training and employment to hand-bead the Same Sky Benefit Collection. The women are earning a sustainable income, but, more importantly, a sense of dignity and confidence as they work to rebuild their lives. They take on leadership roles, use the work environment to confront social issues, and earn an income that allows them to pursue their passions and attend school.
Talk about fashion with a higher purpose!