Refugee Women Find Kinship & Security Through Sewing

June 10, 2024
Refugee Women Find Kinship & Security Through Sewing

Every year, June 20 is recognized as World Refugee Day.  According to the UN Refugee Agency, this is a day to shine a light on the “rights, needs and dreams of refugees.”

As a WMU Compassion Ministry, WorldCrafts seeks to meet the needs of refugees while shining the light of the gospel into their lives.

The WorldCrafts artisan group Refugee Sewing Society is in Clarkston, Georgia.  Because 60-70 percent of Clarkton’s population is composed of people from more than 50 countries and 100 ethnic groups, the city is known as “the most diverse square mile in the United States.”

Refugee Sewing Society provides a safe place for Clarkston’s refugee women to build relationships and create handmade items to earn a supplemental income for their families.  The refugee women also receive access to English as a second language (ESL) and citizenship classes, as well as other resources to help them adapt to their new lives in the US.

One of the refugees working with Refugee Sewing Society is Farzaneh, a woman from Afghanistan who lived as a refugee in Turkey for eight years before coming to the US.  There was no housing available when she, her five children, and other Afghans arrived in January 2023, so they were placed in Atlanta hotels.

Members of a nearby church visited the refugees and discovered the women were looking for sewing machines.  Farzaneh had sewn while living in Turkey and Afghanistan.  Susie Helton, director of Refugee Sewing Society, worked with Georgia Baptists to secure sewing machines, and Refugee Sewing Society put together sewing kits for the refugees to use.  “When you help someone who’s new to our country, you’re one of the first people they know.  It makes a lasting impression, and they never forgot it,” reflected Susie.

When Farzaneh’s family settled in Clarkston several months later, Susie invited Farzaneh to join Refugee Sewing Society and begin taking an ESL class.  Farzaneh’s daughter later told Susie her mother had been very depressed, but coming to sew with the other women helped her.

“Being with other women in a place where they can be loved and feel safe in relationship brings a sense of peace and joy to their lives,” Susie said.

Refugee Sewing Society artisans handcraft two WorldCrafts products, the African Cross and African Nativity Ornament.  By shopping WorldCrafts and sharing about its mission, you can help refugees like the women at Refugee Sewing Society and other artisans throughout the world earn an income with dignity and learn about the hope of everlasting life.  Visit to learn more.

Reprinted from the June 2024 issue of Missions Mosaic, Woman’s Missionary Union, Birmingham, Alabama. Used by permission. To receive this issue, or subscribe to Missions Mosaic, call 1-800-968-7301.