Isemary’s Dream: Breaking the Orphan Cycle

(Watch this and other great videos on the GO Project’s Vimeo page!)

Isemary Wilande is a member of the Transition Academy’s first graduating class and now works at the Go Project’s Apparel facility, where she’s able to earn 5x the wage typically paid by apparel manufacturers in Haiti. Orphaned herself at a young age, Ismary’s dream is to use her skills and experience to help other children, breaking the cycle of financial hardship that contributes to the high rate of orphanhood.

Isemary is one of approximately 10 graduates currently working at the GOEX facility. Allmade’s initial order, which our Indiegogo campaign will fund, will create jobs for another 15 graduates, and 25 experienced workers.

We learned about Isemary’s dream in a recent conversation with Joe Knittig, the CEO of the Global Orphan Project, Allmade’s partner.

What is the Transition Academy’s goal?

The Academy’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty that perpetuates orphanhood. The challenges that face orphans go way beyond financial. We often find that the kids entering our programs are behind the curve educationally, are missing basic life skills, and worse, lack a sense of self-worth.

Without intervention, when these kids age out of foster care they struggle, and the cycle repeats. The Academy is designed to close that gap—offering life skills, vocational training, and instilling in them a sense of purpose and value.

Why is dignified work so important?

We’ve all heard that old saying “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” I would argue that the saying should read, “Invest in a man’s fishing business and become his customer, and he will feed others.”

That’s what Allmade is doing. Creating living wage jobs for orphans aging out of the system doesn’t just prevent them from getting back in the aid line, it enables them to help others. Each maker in our facility supports, on average, eight other people. Each job we create has a ripple effect, improving the quality of life not just for the worker but the community as a whole.

Why did you choose to partner with Allmade?

Honestly, I look at our partnership as a divine alignment. There are lots of apparel companies with a cause. But Allmade is doing something that hasn’t been done before—changing an industry from the inside out by going after the commodities market and saying “There is a better way to make a t-shirt.” When I met the Allmade team, their passion was exploding from their pores. And I saw that not only did they have the passion, but also the business acumen to make it a reality.

We were struggling to create enough jobs to support our graduates. When Allmade came along, it was like the cavalry arriving. It couldn’t have happened at a better time, and we’re proud to have Allmade as our flagship partner.

Help Transition Academy graduates like Ismary achieve their dream of helping other orphans and their communities through the power of dignified work.

Contribute to Allmade’s Indiegogo Campaign to fund our initial order of 67,000 shirts, creating 40 living wage jobs at the GOEX facility in Haiti.

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