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Problem Solving Must-Reads: Breaking the Poverty Cycle with Jewelry

Plus: Municipal services through Whatsapp in Zimbabwe, and dining with refugees in New Jersey

Problem Solving Must-Reads: Breaking the Poverty Cycle with Jewelry

Plus: Municipal services through Whatsapp in Zimbabwe, and dining with refugees in New Jersey

In Detroit, layoffs caused by decline in manufacturing jobs have caused many women with children to become homeless. According to a report by the Michigan Campaign to End Homelessness, about 69 percent of homeless Michigan families are single mothers with children. It is very difficult for these women to come out of the cycle of unemployment, poverty and homelessness because many of them can’t find reliable and inexpensive transportation to get to good paying jobs and because many of them are not able to find and pay for daycare for their children.

A partnership between an emergency homeless shelter called The Coalition on Temporary Shelters and a unique jewelry company called Rebel Nell is trying to empower some of these homeless women by giving them employment that pays a living wage, as well as by providing them with financial education, legal aid, housing assistance and health and wellness training. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to help them successfully transition to becoming financially independent and help provide for their family.

So far, around twelve women have participated in this program; some have even been promoted to higher positions in the company. Meanwhile, sales for the company have been rising steadily. Rebel Nell has also received several awards and recognition for its socially conscious entrepreneurship.

Read the full story here (via City Lab)

Here’s what else we’re reading:

Delivering municipal service using Whatsapp

In many parts of Zimbabwe, municipal services like sewage collection and trash removal are virtually non-existent. Because of a bloated bureaucracy, local authorities are slow to provide these services or to fix issues that arise. Delay in disposal of trash and treatment of sewage in the past has led to devastating diseases like Cholera. So residents of the city of Masvingo have developed a mechanism to notify the municipal authorities by using the messaging app Whatsapp. A Whatsapp group of over 1000 people has been created where complaints can be posted and problems can be reported. Even the municipal authorities have found these groups valuable for communicating important messages to the residents. Although access to the internet and smartphones  are still limited, the government is already encouraging other cities to adopt the idea. (via African Arguments)

Syrian Supper Club

Photo: WNYC

The current political climate and fear-mongering around Syrian refugees entering into the United States has left many refugees feeling unwelcome and alienated. In addition to social isolation, many refugees suffer from a lack of social services. Upset by the rhetoric surrounding the resettlement of Syrian refugees and concerned for their plight, a group of residents from New Jersey decided to throw a series of dinners to support families of refugees adjust to life in the United States. Since the initial dinner, the “Syrian Supper Club” has hosted weekly dinners where a Syrian refugee prepares a traditional meal for guests. The event raises money for Syrian families and provides a platform for cultural exchange. (via WNYC)

Photo Header via City Lab

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