The Advocacy Project (AP) is launching this campaign to help Sewing 4 Solidarity, an inspiring voluntary initiative on the Greek Island of Leros, to train 30 refugee and migrant women in making handbags. Most of the women have fled war in the Middle East, and they are deeply uncertain about what lies ahead. The campaign will help them to draw comfort from working together and fortify them for the future. The campaign will also build trust between the refugees and local residents on Leros.
The beneficiaries of this campaign have reached safety but now face a new enemy - uncertainty. They don't know how long they will stay on Leros or if they will receive asylum. Many have been separated from family members. They come from different backgrounds, but have to co-exist on Leros. All of this causes uncertainty and creates stress for the refugees, their children, and the people of Leros. The volunteers of Sewing 4 Solidarity have done amazing work, but are now running short of funds.
This campaign will enable up to 30 refugee women to make and sell bags, but the process will be more important than the income. The women will work in a group, which will reassure them. But they will also be encouraged to use their unique skills to create bags they are proud of. We expect this approach to be deeply therapeutic. Funds for the campaign will allow AP to hire a trainer and cover essential costs, helping Sewing 4 Solidarity to consolidate and serve more refugees.
Looking to the long-term, the women will be better able to cope with an uncertain future, while their children will benefit from seeing their mothers grow in confidence. Sewing 4 Solidarity will be placed on a path to sustainability. Finally, the campaign will build trust between the refugees and the people of Leros, who will see the new arrivals as hard-working and self-sufficient. We are confident that what is now seen as a "crisis" could become an opportunity for Leros and Greece as a whole.