NEW YORK (WABC) — A local company is helping women with HIV and AIDs around the world.
The women have endured the harshest of circumstances, even escaping the genocide in Rwanda, and are now rebuilding their lives making jewelry.
The money is then used to help hire more women.
It’s a unique business empowering women around the world.
“Working everyday gives me a reason to wake up and live for my children because I am all they have,” said Solina, an artisan who survived the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Francine Lefrak has given several Rwandan women the tools needed to turn their lives around through her company, Same Sky. The women learn how to crochet and make inspiring pieces of jewelry, which are sold around the world.
All of the women lived through the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. All have AIDS or are HIV positive and are slowly rebuilding their lives, one glass bead at a time.
“The biggest surprise to me is how much the women have inspired me,” said Francine “They have become empowered and get so much dignity and so much self respect working with these other women that have suffered.” Francine started the business with four women and now employees more than 2 dozen.
In the capital city of Kigali, the women, for the first time, are able to buy medicine, land, food, start their own businesses and provide an education for their children.
Jacqueline is now able to pay for her daughter’s education and bought her something she only dreamed of having for school.
“She had gone to school for the whole semester and all the other children had mattresses but her. It hurt my daughter’s feelings, but she knew we didn’t have any money,” said Jacqueline.
Although the women face an uncertain future, they are determined to provide for their families.
“When I am gone they will have a house, have something because I won’t be here for long,” said Solina.
All proceeds from the sale of Same Sky bracelets are reinvested into expanding the business to other regions of the world and empowering more women artisans.
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