Sharing the Power of Hand Crafting with Refugees

© Jenna Reich, Tucson Family Photographer

© Jenna Reich, Tucson Family Photographer

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 8.46.29 AM “Someone told me I have Maria Von Trapp syndrome, since I’ll basically make anything out of curtains” shared Kari of Crafting Forward in regard to her resourcefulness. “I don’t believe for a second that we need to walk into a huge store to get what we need, cutting up old sheets and unraveling old sweaters are perfectly acceptable ways to get the materials needed.”

What is Crafting Forward?

Crafting Forward teaches hand crafts such as sewing, knitting, and crocheting to people who would benefit from learning a craft skill but cannot afford it. “People who would benefit most from these skills, can’t afford the initial costs. Once we provide the start up kits containing recycled materials, quality scissors, thread and yarns, they can go on to make and repair clothes and gifts for their children as well as make goods to sell.” explained founders Kari and Aimee.
© Jenna Reish, Tucson Family Photographer

© Jenna Reish, Tucson Family Photographer

Community Outreach with Refugees

Crafting Forward recently partnered with the International Rescue Committee to share these skills with refugees from the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. These programs empower and build community for the refugees, teach them skills that will serve them in America and share with them the joy and satisfaction of making.
© Jenny Reish, Tucson Family Photographer

© Jenna Reish, Tucson Family Photographer

The women come back each week, smiles on their faces and children in tow. “There is a special therapeutic benefit to crochet and knitting – if done right, without the hurdles of trial and error learning… I love seeing confidence build in them as they grasp concepts and use their hands to bring things into being, making their surroundings more personal and more beautiful, with the added benefit of the relaxation that comes from working with your hands.” Kari told us. Crafting Forward is currently achieving 501C-3 non-profit status and receives donations through a GoFundMe account. The very first thing they used donated money for was to buy a length of lightweight fabric so that a refugee mother was able to make her own baby sling for her newborn baby boy. swaddle

Crafting Forward Finds A Space at Maker House

Originally, Crafting Forward was going to be a physical store front with a sewing lab and big easy chairs but after founders Kari and Aimee witnessed several craft businesses go under because of the cost of overhead, they decided to meet at community spaces such as Maker House. “Collaborating with community spaces like Maker House actually speaks much more to our ideas about community than I had originally planned and I think it will be mutually beneficial on all fronts.”
ArtFire is supporting Crafting Forward’s mission by offering virtual shops to the organization and it’s refugee clients so they can list and sell their goods in an online artisan marketplace.
Crafting Forward Class at International Rescue Committee

Crafting Forward Class at International Rescue Committee

Be first to comment

Leave a Reply