NZ businesses pitch in to help former refugees sew for Christmas

When I asked former refugee women in Auckland to start sewing for Waste Free Celebrations, I did not anticipate their level of enthusiasm. I thought they might be happy to have the work, but let's face it, Christmas is a christian tradition and I wasn't sure they'd jump at the chance to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Boy was I wrong!
The whole team in Auckland has jumped in boots and all to sew reusable gift bags and reusable Christmas crackers. The only problem is that they only had three machines between the lot of them which was clearly not going to work.
So, I approached Perry Taylor at Sewing Time in Christchurch. Sewing Time provides industrial machines to trade and he was super keen to support our fledgling Auckland refugee team. Perry generously offered to supply three industrial sewing machines and three industrial overlockers at cost price to our former refugee ladies. This is around $12,000 of machines for a quarter of the price!!
One facebook post and a few messenger chats later, three NZ businesses offered to pay for those machines to sponsor one women each into work. Without their generosity, these women would not have work. Industrial machines also means the sewers earn more money as we work on a per-piece basis here at WFC and the capacity for industrial machines means you sew faster and earn more money. To say I was blown away was a total understatement!
So a HUGE THANK YOU to these companies for their generosity and support:
Sewing Time,
Providers of sewing machines and equipment to trade

George and Edi Wānaka,

Manufacturers of stunning candles, soaps and aromatic household items

Create IP, 

Intellectual property lawyers in Auckland

Create IP Logo

Honeysticks NZ, 

Producers of earth friendly, kid-friendly bees wax-based crayons.

Dr Fahima Saeida from NFACT who manages income-generating opportunities for new settlers, said, "With these contributions, we can finally purchase more sewing machines for our women’s group, allowing us to take on more members so that we may have a greater outreach within the community and create more employment opportunities for the group members. This group has helped many women who are new to the country find employment and rebuild their lives. Many of those who stand to benefit the most are war widows or victims of domestic abuse, and this contribution will play a significant role in their road to recovery. It has been a very moving experience to watch them rebuild their confidence and become more enthusiastic about their future. Opportunities like this aren’t often available to these women as many don’t have the necessary skills or language competency to compete in the NZ job market but it’s thanks to people like Emma and the sponsor companies for having faith and making a huge difference to these women’s lives."

You can find out more about NFACT here:

(Do you know a super crazy fact? In 2004-2006 I worked for the UN in Afghanistan and I lived on the corner of road 5, street 13 Wazir Akbar Khan. Fahima Saeida from NFACT, grew up 30 metres away on the corner of road 6, street 13 Wazir Akbar Khan. Decades later, with me in Wānaka and Fahima in Auckland, we are brought together by Christmas!)