We Made This

Refugee.

We’ve all heard the word.  What does it mean, exactly?

Look around you.  Look at your comfortable home and all you have.

Imagine having to leave it.  Imagine war or violence becoming so terrible that you have no choice but to leave.

 

So you leave it all.  You take your children and you go somewhere, anywhere.  It’s very likely you’ve lost a spouse or family members by this point.

 

Getting somewhere relatively “safe” is brutal enough.

 

Then you arrive in a camp, and you’re far from safe.  Now you not only have literally nothing, but you are also likely defending your family from disease, starvation, violence, and rape.  On a constant basis.

All of this, and you still do not yet qualify for refugee status with the UN.  Nope.

To do that, you have to make it to another country first.  On your own.

 

Then, once you make it to a new and strange country, where you are even less welcome than you were before, likely learning a new language, and you are in a new camp, again facing crushing poverty, disease, violence, and rape, you may finally qualify for refugee status with the UN.  Once the UN recognizes you as a refugee, you will wait to be sent somewhere safer.

 

But you don’t get to pick where you’re sent, and you will wait in that camp for a long time. And once you are sent to your new home, you will again be alone and impoverished, knowing no one and nothing about the culture and language.

Can you even imagine?

I can’t.

About once a month, my daughters and I visit the African Community Center in Denver.  Every time I drive there, I can’t help but think of these people and what they have been through to get here.  They are from places like Congo, Rwanda, Burma, Bhutan, etc.  I think of those places and what it must have been like for them.  It is so easy to take our lives so much for granted.

I always go hoping to help in my own small way, just a little.  But each and every time I have been there, I am the one who is lifted.

We Made This is a project run by the ACC.  Here, women gather together to learn to sew.  They work together to make beautiful items to sell.  But every time I go there, I just love how I feel.  They aren’t just working or sewing.  They’re starting over together.

They are there for each other in this new, different place.  They are there for each other after all they have seen and been through.

We need each other in this world.  I really believe that.  So here’s where I am asking you to come in.

Everything that these beautiful ladies make is sewn from fabric that has been donated.

How many of us have fabric that is lying around in our closets?  Fabric we always meant to use, but never did.  That fabric could mean new opportunities, help, and hope for someone else.  Would you consider donating it?

How many of us have extra sewing needles, old buttons, spools of thread, pieces of batting sitting around?  Come on, ladies.  A lot of us do!  Is it time to clean out your sewing corner a little?  Think of how cool it would be to clean up your sewing closet, AND do a tremendous amount of good, all at the same time.

My girls carry purses everywhere made by the We Made This ladies.  They love them.  I love that the fabric was donated by someone who cared.

The most incredible thing about these ladies is this: every time I go, I would expect to see sad, beaten down women.  I always hope I can do something for them.  But every time, they do something for me.  They work hard.  They are full of hope for a bright future.  After all they have been through, they are the ones who teach me, who give me perspective, who brighten my week.

I love them.

If you would like to donate some fabric, leave me a comment or email me.  I’ll come get your fabric or let you know how to get it to the ACC!

And if you know how to sew, why not consider donating some of your time?  They are always looking for volunteers to teach the women how to sew.

Really, we need each other.  And we have so many different gifts, talents, and abilities, that helping someone else who needs it is really only as complicated as reaching out, just a little.  And the impact we can have is tremendous.

If you are interested in learning more about the ACC or what other types of volunteer services they may need, see this page.

(Ashley Nemiro from the ACC – such an inspirational friend to have.)

If you would like to know more about what it is like to be a refugee, Doctors Without Borders has a tremendous resource here.

Thank you!


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