Every week, women gather to laugh, to learn, to sew. These women hail from far-flung corners of the globe such as Eritrea, Burma and Congo. They speak a variety of languages, they are a wide array of ages, they practice different faiths. Yet there is one thing in common. These women are refugees.
Refugees are people that have had to flee their homes because of extreme danger. Maybe it's because of religion or political opinion or ethnicity - the reasons vary but the stories all have a common theme: home wasn't safe for them and their families any more. These women have endured great trauma and upheaval. Yet they've endured and have now found a new home, a place of welcome and safety in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Our sewing classes are designed to provide a place of fellowship for these precious women, as well as to help them practice English with our American volunteers and learn a practical skill! More advanced students have opportunities to earn income through social enterprises such as Persona Grata Goods (which sprang out of this class) and partnerships with local churches and non-profits like Elevation Church and Amahora Burundi.
Now here's where you come in! While we provide free classes, it's our donors and volunteers that keep the doors open. You can support these precious refugee women in one of four ways:
Thank you for supporting us as we seek to stand with refugees, loving them as Jesus does![. . .]
Four weeks into a new season of Make Welcome Refugee Sewing school classes and we’ve got so much to report! Our students have been busy learning new skills and working to improve on what they learned last year. Here’s a brief rundown:
Our Tuesday “Give Back” class has completed almost 25 pillowcases that we will donate to Beds for Kids. When our refugee students arrived in the United States, most of them came with little more than a small suitcase, a few clothes, and very few personal items. They were the grateful recipients of help in many forms - clothing, furniture, household goods, and more. The generosity of many helped them get on their feet in their new homes. Now, through our “Give Back” class, they have the opportunity to do just that, give back to others. After the pillowcases, our next project will be aprons for the Cooking School students at Project 658!
Our Wednesday Garment Sewing class has begun learning to sew with a pattern. We are using a cute,user- friendly pattern from Oliver + S. called the “After School Pants and Shirt.” So far, our students have learned all about pattern markings, layout, and cutting. They’ve sewn patch pockets and lined pockets, done beautiful topstitching, and most have completed their first pair of pants. They will sew a second pair of pants in a different size in order to master the new skills they learned with their first pair of pants. We are very grateful to Oliver + S, one of our first class sponsors, for their generous donation of patterns.
Our Thursday Beginner class started with the basics - learning how to fill a bobbin, thread the machine, and sew a simple straight seam. They’ve quickly completed two projects, pillowcases and the cute skirts from the Lazy Days Skirt pattern. This week, they’ll begin learning to sew tote bags.
Our Friday Advanced Class/Production team has been working steadily on an order for Amahoro Burundi. Make Welcome Co-Director, Lisa Roszler designed a really cute little stuffed cat. With their hand-embroidered faces and African print skirts, these kitties are a hit with everyone who sees them!
We go through a LOT of fabric in our Make Welcome classes. We’ve been the recipients of many fabric donations but are currently in need of larger pieces of fabric, particularly denim and khaki type fabrics, and knits for our garment sewing class. If you have any you’d like to donate, let us know.
Finally, we do have an Amazon wishlist with a number of sewing related supplies. With 30 plus students, we have to replace sewing machine needles frequently so that’s a big need. To find our wish list, search under lists at Amazon.com for Make Welcome Refugee Sewing School.
Any donations that come to Make Welcome make it possible for our group of students from Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Syria to learn, work, laugh, and build friendships in a safe, encouraging, supportive environment. For our students, many of whom have been through trials that we can barely imagine, the two hours of sewing class are indeed a place where welcome, in the name of Jesus, is made tangible, stitch by stitch.[. . .]