Flowers for Futures Project
Providing income and dignity for refugees through handicrafts
The Flowers for Futures knitting project has been running for almost four years. Please help us keep it going through 2016 and 2017! Currently, the project consists mainly of making children’s sweaters and hats that are then distributed to Syrian refugee families, although there are some items made to be sold (about 20%). 100% of the proceeds from selling the knitted items goes directly back into the project.
To date, over 80 refugee families have participated in the project. Over 9,000 sweaters and hats have been made and distributed to needy refugee children and over $150,000 has been earned by Syrian refugee women, making a huge impact on their lives and families!
The knitting project was started for several reasons:
- To meet a felt need – income – There are some organizations providing goods but they do not always meet the felt needs of the refugees. Also there are many things that these organizations do not provide adequately – money for rent is the most often asked for.
- Many of these refugees have experienced trauma from the war and fleeing their country-Knitting is a therapeutic art and has been found to reduce stress and anxiety. Also the creativity involved adds a positive outlook to their lives.
- Dignity – Many of the families were prospering in their home country. They owned homes, cars and businesses. Currently, their only option to survive is to accept handouts (most work other than with an NGO is illegal). Taking handouts brings shame on an already vulnerable and hurting people.
- Promote refugees helping refugees – The crisis has caused refugees to “compete” for goods. By having refugees make goods to then give to other refugees helps promote a sense of “helping each other out” rather than the former.
- Provide community – many have lost loved ones or left them behind when they came here. They have thus lost part of if not all of their support system. By creating these groups the women share life and hardships together and encourage and support one another.
- Spiritual component – these women all identify themselves as religious. During the meetings stories from God’s word are shared to encourage the women in their situations and to seek God and peace. As hardships arise the women pray together as well.