2010  Finalist

BLISS

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USA

BLISS aims to reduce exploitative labor and increase literacy in communities where school-age youth must choose work over education to meet household cash needs. It brings working youth to school by offering monetary incentives that are sustained through the sale of crafts created in vocational classes. In addition, it offers a business skills curriculum that encourages financial independence and entrepreneurship. In the process, BLISS promotes indigenous art in the form of socially conscious products, and increases participants’ earning potential—thus changing community attitudes towards the usefulness of education. BLISS has an edge over free/subsidized educational programs because it directly tackles the financial opportunity cost of attending school, and over cash incentive schemes because it can self-sustain via its craft sales. BLISS has a successful pilot project in place for 38 Afghan refugee girls in Pakistan, who previously provided labor at carpet looms for up to 14 hours a day.