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Our West Oxfordshire Sewing Hub

We’re building women’s self-esteem and providing an opportunity for asylum seeker’s residing in a local hotel to learn a new skill.

Over the last few months we have been visiting a hotel where over 100 families from around the world are being housed whilst their case for seeking refuge in this country is heard. Families from all sorts of places: we’ve been learning to say “hello!” and “thank you” in Farsi, Persian, Arabic, Albanian and Kurdish, for example. Each week around 20 – 30 women join us for an afternoon of sewing. Some are professional tailors, others have excellent skills passed down from their mothers and some have yet to learn. We’ve been fortunate to receive funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to help us fund the teaching and buy sewing machines. And the Mothers’ Union Diocese of Oxford have generously given funds to one of their members so they could provide 20 women with their own sewing kits. I had never really contemplated how useful my mobile phone would be to talk into and receive a translated message back. The women must have made at least 60 garments between them so far too!

It is good to get involved in activities around the village. We had a great village celebration for the King’s Coronation and we decided to participate in a village flower festival. We made lots of flowers and produced a wonderful display.

It was nice to pause whilst we made, to dedicate a flower to someone we could not hug right now, simply praying for their safety and peace in this difficult time.

We would like to branch out and offer sewing classes in other places where there is need, likely in a community hall, accessible to asylum seekers, refugees and people on low income that would love to sew, mend, alter and make clothes from donations made within their local community. We’ll provide the sewing skills, resources and training. All we ask is that there are 3 or 4 local volunteers eager to be a friendly face, a listening ear (with google translate if necessary !?!) willing to follow instruction and enable others to copy.

If you are interested please do be in touch

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