This November Emerge is partnering with ReEstablish Richmond (ReR), a BGAV partner, to support Afghan refugee women who have relocated to the greater Richmond area.
ReR is focused on connecting refugees and new immigrants to the resources needed to establish roots, build community and become self-sufficient. More than 1200 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders (SIVs) call the Richmond area home and RVA is slated to resettle another 1000 refugees and immigrants in 2022, mostly from Afghanistan. ReR is providing job readiness/ economic empowerment to the wives and widows of SIV holders. Many of these women grew up under the Taliban regime and were not afforded an education or job training. But what they do have is sewing skills, specifically hand sewing. The Heela Sewing Project was born to utilize these skills to help women pursue viable employment opportunities in the US. Heela is the Pashto word for “hope” and since 2014, 41 women have earned a job certification and 12 are now earning an income as a result of the certification and community connections. The Heela Sewing Project will equip women with detail-oriented machine skills to obtain jobs and flourish in a sewing-related career, as well as personal finance skills that enable them to market their items. ReR provides participants with a sewing machine (on loan until they graduate from the 3-phase course at which time they are gifted the machine), supplies, and in-person and remote education and opportunities, all important tools for ensuring a better future for their families. ReR’s goal for the coming year is to serve 40-50 women through this Heela program. It costs about $100 to help each woman complete the beginner course.
Here is where YOU, the women of Second Baptist, come in. We will be providing ReR with supplies and resources for the Heela sewing classes/projects. There are many ways you can help. Below is a Supply List of items needed. Some you may have at home (neckties that are no longer being worn, fabrics and materials for projects intended but never started), some you can physically purchase and drop off in the collection box under the porte-cochère (including gift cards), and some you can buy online and have delivered directly to ReR including e-gift certificates. The opportunities to help are endless and you choose which giving method best suits your time and your finances.
MATERIALS LIST, FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST PRIORITY:
- Sewing Machines (see link below for specific make/model)
- 9″ and 7″ zippers
- Polyfill (although a more eco-friendly alternative would be preferable, such as recycled polyfill or cotton/wool)
- Tailoring chalk (preferably in pencil form)
- Embroidery mesh (#7)
- 2-5 rotary cutters
- 4-6 wrist pin cushions
- Knit fabric – large yardage (or bolts ideally)
- Upholstery fabric – large yardage (or bolts ideally)
- 1-2 cutting mats (large)
- 18″x24″ pillows or pillow forms
- Sewing kits (or their contents–pin cushions, seam rippers, needle threaders, seam gauges, thimbles, measuring tape) Click here for a photo example of an ideal full complement of kit items
For the Amazon Wish List, see here. If you choose to have your items delivered directly to ReEstablish Richmond, please be sure to check “This is a gift” and enter “Emerge” as the name of the giver so that ReR can track our online donations as coming from our women’s ministry. You can also choose to have your items delivered to you and then drop them off in the collection bin under the porte-cochère. Amazon e-gift certificates are also appreciated; please be sure to enter “Emerge” as the name of the giver.
For fabrics and other supplies and Joanne gift cards, you can visit your local store and drop them off in the collection bin under the porte-cochère. You can also purchase Joanne e-gift certificates here; please be sure to check “This is a gift” and enter “Emerge” as the name of the giver so that ReR can track our online donations as coming from our women’s ministry.
To donate a sewing machine and receive the reduced price and have sewing machines or gift cards delivered to ReR, please call or visit in-person All Brand Sewing Center. They are open Tuesday-Friday 9 am to 6 pm and Saturday 9 am to 4 pm. Their phone is 804-270-1882. Be sure to tell them that your purchase is for Emerge and that you want it delivered to ReR. They will know the sewing machine is the Joy machine and that our price is $199.
We appreciate all of our SBC women who are willing to give their time and money to help support our Afghan refugee women in moving from an immediate needs/survival-based way of thinking (common among refugees and people in a new environment) and to help them gain confidence in creating a more long-term, goal-oriented vision for the future. These women have been through so much. Let’s help them feel love from their new community, and help them help themselves.
If you have any questions about the Heela project please contact any of the Emerge leaders for more information. ReR is also looking for volunteers with sewing skills/knowledge!