Project Lia is a nonprofit social enterprise working to address the many socioeconomic barriers to successful reentry through an innovative and collaborative work environment. We repurpose discarded material into beautiful, one-of-a-kind home furnishings and accessories while providing workforce development training to successfully transition women-in-reentry into the labor market.
We exemplify an inclusive local economy and ultimately help our participants become self-sufficient and valued members of society. We aim to create a space of understanding and mutual respect – a space where transforming material, transforms lives.
We value transparency, dialogue, civic participation, innovation
Named after Lia Brunet, a woman who dedicated her life to building bridges between people of different races, cultures, religions and social backgrounds, Project Lia’s story is inspired by a community located in the midst of the Argentine Pampas, where people from around the world come together to live the ideal of a united world. Established in 1968, the community has become an important center for dialogue, culture, and economic justice.
Why formerly incarcerated women?
In the past three and a half decades, the female prison population has skyrocketed from approximately 12,000 women in State or Federal jurisdiction to more than 100,000. Including women held in local jails, on probation, or on parole, that figure rises to over ONE MILLION.
Upon release, they must obtain stable employment, locate safe and drug free housing, and comply with probation or parole conditions, all while trying to unite with their families. With little to no training and educational programs while incarcerated, these women return to the same low, unstable economic situations upon release.
Coupled with societal stigmatas and discrimination, formerly incarcerated women find themselves with few avenues to overcome the reentry into the workforce.
Why discarded material?
The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it! And with the US being #1 trash-producing country in the world, we have a lot of work to do. Re-purposing material is just one way we can contribute to reducing waste.
We take a holistic approach
Project Lia aims to provide educational opportunities in financial literacy, communication, business ethics, and health and wellness, as well as foster positive relationships and community engagement. This is made possible through our partnerships with both community organizations and volunteers.
When we empower these women, we empower communities. Empowered women are catalysts for multiplying development efforts leading to improved local economies and more equitable societies.
On average, women invest 90% of their income back into their families.
In addition, they tend to make more household decisions, especially those related to nutrition and leisure activities. Providing women with economic opportunities enables them to make better decisions and family investments based on their long-term value.
What does this mean in the community?
- Greater economic distribution and advancement
- Improved public health
- Increased educational attainment
- Enhanced community relations