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    Women helping women learn a new skill

    Day 308

    Stitching Together

    Handicrafts are one of the most popular small business ideas amongst displaced women around the world, and the women of the Rohingya widows block are no different!

    Last year we had supplied five sewing machines for the widows block as well as hired a trainer through our partner organization so the women could learn how to sew at a professional standard. This year, I went back to check in on how things are progressing and whether there were any gaps which I could support.

    Joshna and Senwara, two women from the block with small children, told us they had made clothes for their kiddos and others during the colder months. Their friends – other women in the block – had started selling handmade clothing in the area, but soon the market became oversaturated with other female tailors with the same idea.

    This didn’t stop them from losing interest in this trade though. They continued to teach each other, building on their skills, and started to experiment with other techniques.

    We soon found out that Fatima, another woman part of the block, was an expert embroiderer, a talent she had been cultivating since her younger years. She was more than willing to teach the other women her special mixed-method handicraft technique, which the other women were more than interested to learn!

    I set off with the team to the market to purchase all the additional supplies they would need to start experimenting with beautiful wall hangings and other handicrafts, which they could not only sell in the local market, but to NGO workers at camp-wide craft fairs.

    With some colored thread, loads more fabric and repaired sewing machines, I have no doubt the creativity found in these handicrafts will be an inspiration for others.


    Meet Shamaila! Shamaila is part of the Global Connections team based out of Minneapolis. She supports partnerships and fundraising for Alight’s initiatives with the diaspora, LGBTIQ+ refugees, Rohingya women, and beyond! She is deeply passionate about supporting the most marginalized communities worldwide – those living in the shadows — to reclaim their voice and has found Changemakers 365 a powerful tool to support this.



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