Women in Rwanda Get a Hand Up Through Jewelry Making
No one will forget the disturbing images of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda when 800,000 people were killed. Former President Bill Clinton has said not intervening is the biggest regret of his presidency.
Fifteen years later, the impact of the genocide remains, as described by one Rwanda native named Brigette, who said, "At 15, I was made a sex slave and had their children."
Brigette was left HIV positive. Weakened by her illness, she could not care for her children. That is, until filmmaker Francine LeFrak came into her life.
LeFrak told INSIDE EDITION's Deborah Norville, "I wanted to do something that could actually empower woman and change their families and their children. So I thought, what if they made jewelry? What if they learned how to crochet?"
In a tiny collective in Rwanda, Brigette and other survivors of the genocide, most of them HIV infected, handcraft beautiful glass bead bracelets and necklaces. The beads and tools are shipped from the United States, where the finished jewelry is sent for sale.
INSIDE EDITION's Deborah Norville has a bracelet made by Clementine, who says that now she can afford to send her daughter to school.
The collective is called Same Sky, inspired by the idea that all women live under the same sky.
"They see the same stars and the same moon. Every woman. One dream," said LeFrak.
"And they're sold for a profit. This is not a charity operation," said Norville.
"No, it's a trade initiative, not an aid initiative. It's a hand up, not a hand out," said LeFrak.
Same Sky bracelets have been a hit. Some of the worlds biggest stars have been spotted wearing them. 100% of the proceeds go back to the business, giving more women the chance for change.
To find out more about Same Sky and how you can help, please visit www.samesky.com.