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  • Nell Green

Cross-Country Connections

Iman has been in the United States for almost four years. She came here with her four children from Iraq. A gynecologist by education and profession in her home country, she was not able to continue her practice after arriving in the US.

Iman had always enjoyed creating jewelry. Her mother wanted her to study science instead of being involved in artistic endeavors. Once when Iman was a girl, she went to the refrigerator after everyone else had gone to bed for the night. She took the soft center of bread and rolled it into beads. Then she strung them together and painted them wearing it as a necklace the next day!

When doors were closed to Iman continuing as a gynecologist, she decided to try her hand at jewelry making. Procuring materials from a local hobby shop she began experimenting.

After learning of her desire and seeing her abilities, The Off Ramp was able to connect Iman to Dr. Sairah Malik from Pro-Optix in Houston to mentor her and help her procure a business license and other necessary paper work. Guidance from our friend in Seattle Ruth Barzel who makes jewelry enabled us to put together a list of what Iman needs to begin making a higher quality product. Still the realization of beginning that business is a ways off as Iman perfects those skills.

Meanwhile, Christen connected with Just Bakery in Atlanta, a non-profit that partners with refugee neighbors on paid job training, professional certification, and a living wage. While Christen and Just Bakery's founder Leah are working to put together a big event in Atlanta this summer, the two began exploring other ways of collaborating between now and then. Leah suggested creating a unique ornament that could be pre-ordered along with their holiday pies!

It was then Nell who had the idea of asking Iman to design the ornament. Much of her jewelry is made of polymer clay, and her talent lent itself beautifully to the creation of this new product. Her skill as a surgeon is evident the details of each piece. While you'll have to check out Just Bakery if you want to order a pie with your ornament, you can get just the ornaments at today. All proceeds from Iman's creations go into a fund to help her launch and grow her jewelry business.

The star ornament comes in four colors and is sold for $12. The Santa, snowman, candy cane, and stocking all sell for $22.

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