Refugee Embarks on New Career in Fashion Design

Disaster Response | Print

Katia grips a needle between her thumb and forefinger and carefully pierces the colorful fabric in front of her. She’s not just crafting a pair of shoes. She’s designing a work of art.

Her fashions incorporate the colorful patterns for which the local culture is known, but each piece showcases a little of her own flair. And, she can thank friends like you for her new skill.

Katia and her husband each fled their home country more than a decade ago, seeking refuge from war and violence. But, instead of stability, they have encountered desperate poverty. As refugees, they have struggled for work, and what positions they could find barely pay the bills. Katia’s husband, a pastor, sells odds and ends in a shop located next to a room he rents for a church. His congregation is comprised of fellow refugees who can’t help support the couple and their four young daughters. So, they often sell their possessions to buy food and pay rent on their small, three-room apartment in one of the most crime-ridden parts of their new city.

And, their story is common. More than 25,000 refugees live in the same area, where they endure discrimination from police officers and locals. Most have unstable jobs and make little income, so they must cram their families into crowded, dilapidated buildings in neighborhoods flush with drug dealers, prostitutes, and criminals. They receive no government benefits, like health care or education. Some of them live on one meal a day—or less.

This is the world in which Katia and her husband are trying to raise their daughters while also sharing God’s love with other broken and desperate people. It’s not easy.

But, supporters like you have given them hope. Your dollars have helped purchase sewing machines for a school that teaches fashion design to refugees like Katia. She studied for six months before graduating with a certificate and a dream.

Now, Katia creates brightly colored shoes, dresses, jewelry, and headdresses all by hand. She’s planning to save enough money to buy a sewing machine and produce even more beautiful items for sale. The extra money she will earn could do so much for her four daughters.

And, this kind woman wants to share her skills. She hopes to, one day, begin an outreach program and help other women learn to sew and design their own clothing and accessories. Katia knows what pain and hunger feel like, and she wants to save other families from those hardships.

Pray for Katia as she diligently expands her business and works toward her dream. And, if you can, please give to other projects that provide vulnerable people with jobs skills training. Give them opportunities to create better lives for their families.

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