Artisans for Hope
Dr. Sara Fry
Let me tell you an incredible story about some women who got a brilliant idea to help refugees adapt after their resettlement, and then acted on that idea. ..
Refugees differ from other immigrants due to the fact that they are forced from their homes based on persecution or conflict. They flee from their country for survival, sometimes sacrificing leaving behind loved ones, family, and friends. According to a report in 2009 from the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), around 42 million people were taken from their homes and had to resettle elsewhere. About 45% of the refugees are under the age of 18. These numbers stood out to these women and they thought maybe there was something they could do to help.
Boise, Idaho is a refugee resettlement city, and a group of local women came together and brainstormed what they could do to be actively involved. Then, with some spool and thread in hand, they began to teach sewing and knitting classes to the refugees to give them work and social skills beneficial to living life in America; practicing English as a second language, giving direction and guidance of instructions, and giving an opportunity to sell some retail and make some money.
For the first 90 days of resettlement, refugees have some help from the government to become self-sufficient, but most of the time after that they are set in their own ways to figure out the rest. It is only in our hearts that we can imagine how hard that must be to go through, being forced from your home, living in a refugee camp, then sent somewhere you know nothing about. Artisans For Hope recognized the challenge and created a safe environment for any and all refugees and volunteers to come together to knit, sew, and speak. They are teaching each other day by day and making a difference in each others lives.
Dillard, Amber Idell, "Artisans for Hope" (2014). Intensive Semester Learning Experience (ISLE). 1.