SEED is so grateful to collaborate with Hopeful Hands to train women at SEED’s STEPS Center, our shelter for trafficking survivors, in sewing. Our clients used these skills to produce handicrafts for sale and can use these skills in their future.
Hopeful Hands trained SEED’s staff in sewing and stitching skills, who then trained clients to use sewing tools and machines and produce handicraft and sewn products. At the shelter, women who have been affected by trafficking often wait for weeks, if not months, until their situation is resolved. Sewing knowledge equips these women with basic economic-empowerment skills while also providing them an engaging activity for managing their day-to-day life in a productive way at the shelter.
Nour Adil, an Iraqi-Canadian, founded Hopeful Hands, which is based in the Ankawa district of Erbil, to create job opportunities for vulnerable women in the Kurdistan Region. In particular, Hopeful Hands teaches internally displaced women from Iraq and refugee women from Syria to produce marketable goods using sewing as a way to support themselves and their families. Adil said that Hopeful Hand’s sewing space provides a fun and safe space for women to interact and communicate with other women and learn ways to provide a livelihood for their families.
SEED Anti-Trafficking Program Psychosocial Support (PSS) Coordinator, Mercy, was trained by Sabah, a master seamstress refugee from Syria who has been living in Erbil for four years. Under Sabha’s guidance, SEED staff fabricated a beautifully-colored traditional tote bag and four other pieces for everyday use, including a sling bag and a shopping bag. Mercy said she was privileged to meet and train with the creative and talented women at Hopeful Hands and felt equipped with the necessary sewing and stitching skills that she is eager to share with women at the STEPS Center. The women really enjoyed learning to sew and making great tote bags which SEED bought from them to give as gifts.
SEED is immensely grateful to Hopeful Hands for the wonderful opportunity and contribution to the empowerment of survivors of trafficking in Iraq. Additionally, this collaboration will provide the STEPS Center residents with the opportunity to earn their own money and reduce the distress around returning home without any financial income.