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January 4, 2013 3:54 pm

Israeli Organization Helps At-Risk Women Train to Work in the Fashion World

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Models wearing Israeli designer dresses walk on runway at Tel Aviv Fashion Week on November 13. Photo: Tazpit News Agency.

A free course that trains at-risk women for work in the fashion world is helping former Israeli prostitutes get off the street.

The idea was originally that of Tzur Ben-Moshe’s, a fashion writer and editor, who started a workshop for local women living at a hostel in her neighborhood of Tel Aviv that aimed to help women get out of prostitution and get off drugs.

“I didn’t want just to answer the phone in the help center,” she told the New York Times in an article published in the paper on Thursday. “I wanted to offer something more optimistic, more beautiful, the opposite of that awful world of prostitution.

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At first Ben-Moshe teamed with Ido Recanati, a local fashion designer, to offer the women from the hostel training in sketching, fabrics and stitching. The workshop was such a success that it spawned Turning the Tables, an organization now run by Ben-Moshe and Recanati, that offers weekly sessions to women from the hostel; Elem, an Israeli organization for youths in distress; and a shelter for women straight out of prison.

One resident of the Hostel, Aviva, who is currently waiting to hear back from a fashion designer about a job, told the Times, “The course gave me a lot of self-confidence and knowledge,” adding, “Maybe one day I’ll be able to start something of my own. When they gave me the certificate — the first in my life — I was proud of myself. I’d done something positive.”

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