Stitching Together Hope

Posted on February 27, 2019

Featured Image for Stitching Together Hope
Tawanna Williams Maryland along with CNNC intern Huda Ali

“I’ve been sewing since I was a child— I would go to the bus stop wearing a dress I had made from a curtain. Sewing is something I’ve always done.”

Tawanna Williams Maryland sits in front of a sewing machine as she speaks, guiding a thread through a tiny needle.

For many years Tawanna, who currently serves as an AmeriCorps ACCESS Member in the role of Volunteer Coordinator at CNNC, has envisioned a cooperative space where immigrant and refugee families can come together and create and sell handmade crafts traditional to their culture. Now a reality, the Sewing Lab provides an opportunity for residents to practice their English, learn business skills, and ultimately, create a new source of income.

The project was kickstarted during a parent meeting at Legacy Crossing, when a resident newly arrived from the Congo, shared that his wife wanted to learn to sew. Tawanna said this was a sign for her that the project was meant to flourish.

On February 1st, Tawanna was able to host the first day of the lab and had over six mothers of Burmese and Congolese backgrounds participate. So far, she has been able to gather enough resources to begin teaching fundamental skills. She hopes to collect more materials and support to expand the program.

Want to support the project?

The cooperative is in need of quality fabrics (cotton, heritage prints, felts, and lightweights) sewing machine needles (size 14 Universal), a cutting board, interfacing, polyfil stuffing, and other tools for beginners that help with measuring. The program will gladly accept quality sewing machines as well.

Want to make a donation or have questions?  Connect with Tawanna at [email protected].

Written by Elijah Rogan-Kelly, Guilford College, Sustainable Food Systems Major, Intern spring 2019

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