Energetic. Determined. Positive. Relational.
These are the words that describe Alia after I met her for the first time. Having been with her a few times since, those words remain very accurate.
Alia arrived in the United States about eight months ago from Afghanistan. Her sister and she were not safe after the United States pulled out of their country. As single women whose brother had worked for the American military, their lives were in jeopardy.
Alia was introduced to us through a mutual friend, Kristen Muse, a minister at Hayes Barton Baptist Church. A house the church owned was converted to temporary housing for people arriving from Afghanistan. They became a part of the Welcome House Network, a partner of the The Off Ramp.
Members of the community came alongside those passing through the Welcome House. They helped them secure jobs, find permanent housing, complete paperwork, set children up in school, etc. During this process, Kristen and Alia became friends.
Alia shared her sewing skills with Kristen. She had trained intermittently for 3 short months before leaving Afghanistan. Kristen explained she was not a seamstress but would share Alia’s work with someone she knew.
Alia asked that we not share her photo. This is her living space, where she sews for Threads by Nomad and where she served Christen tea and bread she made on her visit to meet Alia.
The first time I met Alia she had been in the States only about 5 months. Her English was excellent. I asked if she had studied English in Afghanistan. “I learned watching TV after I arrived in the United States,” she explained. “Wow!” was all I could say.
Alia was wearing a lovely black jacket that she had made herself. It was obvious she had a base of skills. We had seen a pair of harem pants she had made. Could she make some for Threads by Nomad? I worked with Alia on some mockups, helped her understand and work with American sizing, advised her in quality control, etc. Alia admits her skills are limited. She is able to create only a few garments but wants to learn more. She is definitely on her way. The harem pants she created for Threads by Nomad are lovely.
During her visit, Christen also tried on the harem pants and approved emphatically of Alia's work! The harem pants will be photographed for our website in a couple of weeks, and an email will be sent to our subscribers when they are ready for purchase.
Alia works full time at a print shop and sews on the side. She works so her younger sister can go to university. Work, education, entrepreneurship…these are all things that as women would not be possible for Alia and her sister in Afghanistan.
When you purchase from Threads by Nomad these are the ways you help make a difference.
Despite her limited means, Alia has extended remarkable hospitality to us at each visit. Knowing and working with her is a delight and an honor.