They come here to escape war, poverty and oppression. They bring rich cultural traditions including handwork skills. What they lack in language matters little when it comes to cooperatively creating handcrafted goods for sale in the community.
The women of Stitch Buffalo’s Refugee Women’s Workshop meet once a week at the CEM on Lafayette near Grant Street to share these traditions and skills. Only one woman came to the first meeting but word of mouth travels fast on the Westside and the workshop now serves about 55 women from Bhutan, Burma, Nepal and Angola.
To accommodate this large expansion Stitch Buffalo has been actively seeking a designated work space and a retail outlet. Planning is underway for Rich Products to donate the first floor at 1215 Niagara for this purpose. At the new site, they will offer textile arts classes for the general community in sewing, garment refashioning and other handwork skills. Refugee women will be paid to assist in teaching; they are also compensated for their handcrafted goods when they sell. The new retail shop will carry the refugee women’s handcrafts as well as donated yarn, textiles and more to generate income.
The organization has transitioned to registered nonprofit status and is broadening the services provided to include education in English language, retail experience and financial literacy, as well as textile arts.
Come celebrate Stitch Buffalo on Saturday, April 1st from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Resurgence Brewery, 1250 Niagara St. Meet remarkable women, sample international foods, view and purchase their products, and support another amazing grassroots project in Buffalo. For more information contact Dawne Hoeg or Joanna Stott at firstname.lastname@example.org.