Her smile is bright and invites you to be her friend. It does not even hint at the difficulties of 22 years in a refugee camp.
For the past seven months, Rebecca and her four daughters have been adjusting to life in a new country.
Rebecca learned to sew in the refugee camp. Her desire is to sew and make a living that will provide economic stability for her family.
We met Rebecca through Make Welcome Sewing, a program in Charlotte, NC teaching refugee women how to sew. The Off Ramp was able to provide necessary equipment for Rebecca to begin sewing at home.
Building a sewing business is no easy task, especially for someone who has only just begun their life in the United States. Rebecca works at a fast-food restaurant near her apartment. She sews after her work is done.
Refugees arriving from refugee camps have many hurdles to jump. Parents like Rebecca must not only quickly learn how to make a living, but
they help their children adjust
they pay monthly expenses on what is often a minimum wage job
they pay back their transportation costs for the flight to the US
they learn public transportation or walk
they navigate difficult medical and social service systems
and the list goes one.
Parents want one thing for their families – to thrive. They work hard to make that a reality.
At Threads by Nomad and The Off Ramp we strive to offer work that is more than just a job. Our desire is for partners to experience dignity in their work and invest in their work as a profession. Sometimes that is made possible by providing a machine. Sometimes it is helping children with school supplies. Sometimes it is a sewing project such as we have given Rebecca. Sometimes it involves mentoring or teaching a skill. You are an integral part of helping refugees become thriving citizens in their new country. Want to know how?
Purchase a garment or other creation at Threads by Nomad. The dresses Rebecca is working on will be ready and on the website soon! Meanwhile there are creations made by refugees from various places around the world.
You can help with children’s school supplies. Our friend Alaya Gaj (our youngest and most ardent volunteer) just finished a backpack drive in Houston Texas. We will also be helping refugee children here in SC and NC. You can purchase and send supplies or $35 purchases needed supplies for one child. Right now, we are in need of about 10 backpacks and supplies in this area. (Just send us an email if you're interested in contributing to this project!)
Do you have a bunch of t-shirts that need to be made up into a quilt? One of our refugee friends is ready and able to take on that project.
If you are in the Rock Hill, SC or Charlotte, NC area, there are opportunities to volunteer with teaching English, transportation, and cultural acquisition.
We are excited to partner with Rebecca and can’t wait to share her work with you.