What is a refugee?
According to the UN, a refugee is a person who has crossed international borders to flee from war, violence or persecution. There are currently over 24 million refugees worldwide.
What is it like being a refugee?
Oftentimes, refugees flee at a moment's notice with little to none of their possessions, leaving everything behind for safety. Once they arrive in a safe zone, they are registered as a refugee through the UN and given a referral to resettle in another country. The resettlement process can take up to 3 years and only 5% are resettled. Until they are resettled or it is deemed safe to go back home, refugees often live in refugee camps with little resources in a foreign country.
How many women do you employ?
Since our founding, we have employed over 150 Artisans. The number of Artisans currently employed fluctuate between 8-15 depending on space availability and the size of the graduating sewing class.
Where do your students and Artisans come from?
Our students and Artisans come from all around the world! A number of countries are represented at any given time including Iraq, Ethiopia, Russia, Venezuela, and so many more! Students hear about our class a few different ways such as word of mouth, through partnership organizations like World Relief, and local libraries and churches. Our Artisans are hired after they complete the sewing class if requirements are met and there is space and funding available.
How do you decide who to hire?
A student is eligible to be hired as a Re:new Artisan if the following requirements are met:
- They complete all lessons in the class
- They pass a basic sewing test
- They pass an English assessment test
- The Sewing Manager and Artisan Program Director assess that the student would make a good addition to the Re:new team
- There is an Artisan spot available in the studio
- Arrived in the US as a refugee
*Employment is not a guarantee for each student
What is it like being an Artisan?
Artisans are offered part-time flexible employment of up to 20 hours per week. To encourage practicing English and to foster community, we encourage only English speaking while in the studio and enjoy a potluck lunch together everyday (on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic). Over time, once an Artisan masters a product, they are taught by one another and our Artisan Program Director more challenging products. These products made are then sold online and in our store front.
Why do you only offer part-time employment?
As a post-resettlement organization, it is our goal to set Artisans up for future success in whichever career path they choose. Offering part-time employment encourages Artisans to explore other vocational and educational opportunities and allows more refugee women to be hired.
Why do you only hire Artisans for two years?
We desire to be a stepping stone, or a river and not a pond so to speak, for refugee women as they resettle. By offering employment for two years, we are encouraging them to seek the next step in their career journey while continuing to offer space for incoming Artisans.
Where do Artisans go once they leave the program?
There are number of reasons why an Artisan might not stay the whole two years- they move, have a baby, or land a full time job are the most common reasons. If they do stay to complete their two years, Artisans tend to continue working full time with another employer, typically in a warehouse setting. However, some go on to start their own business or pursue school, such as becoming a nurse! Check back soon for an alumni page to hear how well former Artisans are doing!