Philanthropy | For Goodness’ Sake

A necklace that means a decent wage for Rwandan women

Jewellery that makes a big impact in Rwanda

A necklace that means a decent wage for Rwandan women

Image: Caren Carlson

March 22 2011
Sibéal Pounder

Trade-not-aid jewellery initiative Same Sky may have fashion cred now that its bracelets ($40) have been picked up by DKNY, but the fair trade company has significant altruistic impact too through its use of Rwandan studios.

During the 1994 Rwanda genocide, more than 250,000 women were raped and around 70 per cent of them infected with HIV. Collaborating with survivors, Same Sky gives the workers in its collectives (who are all female and HIV positive) a wage 15 times the average in Sub-Saharan Africa, along with a stipend to get to and from work and a hot meal.

“The women now earn an income that allows them to provide food and healthcare for their children, and we encourage each woman to open a bank account and teach them to budget their income,” says Same Sky founder Francine LeFrak.

Next month, to mark the anniversary of the genocide, Same Sky is launching a new collection of glass-beaded necklaces (pictured, $350) by the First Lady of Rwanda’s Imbuto collective. A men’s accessories collection will follow soon.