"RAI has become family in my life and new community."
- Tracy (artisan since 2017)
Refugee and immigrant women have the highest unemployment rate in the country*. Language barriers and cultural differences create a challenge for women to discover how to apply their skills to create work opportunities. At RAI we help the women utilize and improve their skills that they have already developed in their home country. We help connect the women's artisan skills with job opportunities to contribute to their family and community. In many cases we help the women receive their first personal paycheck in the US.
Providing fair wages to women artisans
Units Produced: > 120,000
items created by artisans
Upcycled: 5,000 pounds each year from landfills
Donated: 5,000 hats, 80,000 masks, 1,000 pet products to Seattle Humane
HOW WE DO IT
We partner with Seattle non-profits (Refugee Women Alliance or ReWa and Children's Home Society of Washington) to recruit refugee and immigrant women looking to work from home with sewing skills. We then work with each individual artisan through our training model to determine the best path for them in order to foster an inclusive, prosperous transition to the US.
We train refugee and immigrant women in sewing and jewelry-making along with providing them with materials and access to equipment. When our artisans gain proficiency in these skills, we help them get their own business license and provide paid work projects they can do from home. This is the beginning of their journey to self-sufficiency.
Artisans who want to pursue further growth opportunities, successfully complete their work assignments, and demonstrate leadership continue their path towards entrepreneurship. This development program allows them to expand the supply and variety of employment choices along with begin to build their skills to own microbusinesses and help pursue their dreams!
"I've gotten to the point where I can start paying it forward. I now use the money I make to support other refugee families, the way my family was supported over 10 years ago."
- Pri (artisan since 2020)
Refugee Artisan Initiative endeavors to build a collaborative and engaged community that provides both inclusive resources and opportunities to our artisans, such as language skills, financial courses, and tax education, but also offers opportunities to give back to our local community, such as donating items (Friends Through Fleece Program), community engagement programs, volunteer opportunities, and workshops.
RAI is focused on eliminating waste from landfills and utilizing upcycled materials to help preserve the environment. We work with different companies and volunteers to achieve this initiative along with educating artisans of the importance of sustainability. Give your recycled materials today.