Persona Grata Goods sprang out of a sewing class for refugee moms. This sewing class started in a small apartment off Central Avenue with just a few students twice a month. Now, the Make Welcome Refugee Sewing School meets 4 days a week with many, many refugee students!
One of the school’s co-founders recently wrote this note to supporters. We want to share it too, asking that as you read, you consider how you could invest in refugee women here in Charlotte, North Carolina: __________________________________________________________________
“Would you teach me to do that?”
I showed my young Burmese friend, Ciin Niang, a quilt I was making and she asked me to teach her to sew. I began taking my sewing machine to her apartment once a week and the idea for what has become Make Welcome Sewing was sparked. In July, 2013, my friend, Julia and I launched Make Welcome Refugee Sewing with a class of six in a small east Charlotte apartment.
In February, 2016 we found a new home at the Project 658 Center. We have been able to expand our class offerings and have space now for fabric and supplies storage. No more schlepping sewing machines back and forth; no more fabric stacked in my garage! In the last year and a half, we have increased the number of sewing classes from one a week to four, and have grown from serving 5 students to more than 30, with over 35 on our waiting list. We are now a program of Project 658 and an important part of the community development work that happens here.
Make Welcome Sewing is a natural fit at Project 658. The aim of Make Welcome from the very beginning has been to show the love of Christ to refugee women in Charlotte through teaching sewing skills, and fostering friendship, community, and entrepreneurial opportunity.
Project 658 is a 501c3 non-profit, providing Christ-centered holistic services for at-risk families in Charlotte with the goal of restoring hope and moving families toward self-sustainability with a key focus on international and refugee communities. The best way to accomplish this mission is to be deeply integrated in the community. To that end, Project 658 operates programs at the ministry center, at the wellness clinic, and in nearby apartment communities. Programs include English as a Second Language, Culinary classes, after-school programs, medical and dental clinics, counseling, and, of course, sewing classes.
One of our goals is to connect our students with employers. In the last year, nine students have been employed by small batch, crafted production businesses including Holley and Sage, Persona Grata Goods, Ola and Oli , Twenty-Two West ,and Amahoro Handcrafts.
Through our very popular Sewing Machine Sponsorship Program students can earn a sewing machine through regular class attendance and a small financial contribution on their part. This enables them to do crafted production work at home.
Will you help us grow this program for our students and their families? We’re praying for a team of people and businesses to join in supporting the work of Project 658 and specifically the Make Welcome Sewing program in several ways:
We are a Christ-centered organization and seek to serve our students in practical, life-changing, hope restoring, God honoring ways day in and day out.
Financial support –
We are seeking a team of donors who will support the work of Make Welcome Sewing/Project 658 with regular gifts. There are several ways to do this:
- Sponsor a student – $600. The cost to support one student in the sewing program for a year is $600. That cost includes all supplies and notions, staffing, sewing machine maintenance and repair, fabric and pattern purchases, and the subsidy provided through the Sewing Machine Sponsorship program. Thirty sponsors – one per student – would cover our sewing program costs for the year.
- Sponsor a machine – $250 will subsidize the cost of a serger for an advanced student; $150 the cost of a machine upgrade for an intermediate student; $100 the cost of a basic machine for a beginning student. We anticipate purchasing up to 30 machines this year. Your machine sponsorship helps to set a student on the road to employment.
- Sponsor a tool set – $50 will pay for a basic tool set for one student, including good quality sewing scissors and other basic sewing tools.
We are grateful for donations in any amount. Click here to make a donation through the Project 658 Donate Page. Choose Project Support from the first drop down menu and Make Welcome Sewing from the second menu. Thanks!