By Jon Schiller
Israel is gearing up to host the Miss Universe 2021 competition next week, with special events, galas, and tours of the country for the contestants.
One of the events leading up to the competition was a special fashion show put on by the contestants and Jerusalem’s Haboydem (The Attic) — a secondhand clothing store and women’s rehabilitation center.
For the event, the Miss Universe contestants dressed in clothes from Haboydem, aiming to bring sustainable fashion, as well as mental health awareness, to the forefront.
Haboydem provides employment training for people with disabilities, especially those recovering from issues relating to mental health. Each employee has a personalized rehabilitation plan, designed with the assistance of a staff occupational therapist or social worker, and works short shifts.
At the end of the process, employees receive support in seeking a job in the free market. This includes dealing with the pressures of the interview process, integrating into a new job, and maintaining steady employment.
“Haboydem is about giving a second chance [and the idea] that pre-loved clothes, just like our employees, can be given a second chance,” said Haboydem GM Eris Avihod.
Among those taking part in the special event was Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, an avid supporter of Haboydem.
“I am thrilled that we are able to show the delegates from Miss Universe the very best of Jerusalem,” she said. “I consider Haboydem not only as one of the jewels in Jerusalem’s social-impact business scene, but also a go-to place for beautiful clothes and am delighted that these worlds will come together in the fashion show.”
Haboydem stylist Stephanie Strauch said many customers come for ideological reasons, “while others come to support and encourage our workers during their rehabilitation. Some are financially motivated and some just like the thrill of a ‘find.’”
The Miss Universe pageant on Dec. 12 and will be broadcast live in more than 170 countries.
The Miss Universe Organization, its website states, “is a global, inclusive organization that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realize their goals through experiences that build self- confidence and create opportunities for success.”
The organization prioritizes the importance of being involved and giving back through a dedicated international platform of charitable partnerships, the website states. “As leaders and role models within their communities, our delegates and titleholders affect positive change through volunteering, fundraising and advocacy.”
The site lists Smile Train and Best Buddies as among the charities it supports.
Produced in association with Israel21C.
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