Building Bigger

Homes Not Borders Artisan Empowerment Program

Our mission is to provide refugees in the DC area with what they need to thrive and feel at home.

Homes Not Borders assists refugees by helping with two very vital needs: home furnishings and employment assistant. The resettlement agencies do attempt to meet these needs but have been so overwhelmed with the surge of Afghan resettling in the D.C. area – more than 2,000 families in the last six months - that these needs would have been unmet without HNB. When it comes to home furnishings, we have seen firsthand that without our assistance, refugees end up in apartments with nothing, sleeping on hardwood floors. And when it comes to employment assistance, while most of the men do eventually jobs – albeit low wage – the women are left out of the equation. Firstly, we do provide cash assistance to help these all refugees upskill into better employment. But HNB also provides a way for the women to earn an income by making home accents through our Artisan Empowerment program. Their handiwork then goes into the homes of new refugees and will soon be marketed to the public as well.

A grant of $25,000 would help to specifically address the unmet need of income opportunity for refugee women via Homes Not Borders’ Artisan Empowerment program. The grant would pay for the supplies as well as the work of these artisans to make home accents like table runners, pillows, artwork, laundry baskets, bowls and even side tables and coffee tables. And then Homes Not Borders would use these items when setting up and furnishing homes for other new refugee families to make these home more welcoming and complete. The grant would also help to pay for shipping resources and the technology to get the Artisans set up to have their own online store. Additionally, it would pay for the marketing outreach that Homes Not Borders would use to promote these products to our supporters and the public.

This grant would most definitely have a lasting impact on the refugee community. Homes Not Borders hope to support at least 12 refugee artisans in 2022, and even more in the following year. And income they earn making home accents goes directly to supporting their family and helping their family thrive as they make a home in the United States. (And as a side benefit, the artisan goods that HNB buys will assist in making other refugee homes more welcoming and complete.) And by helping the artisans set up and promote their own online store, they have the potential to earn hundreds (perhaps thousands) more dollar through those sales as well. But beyond income, we have heard time and time again about refugee women feeling depressed and disconnected, not knowing the language or the community. Our Artisan Empowerment program not only provides these women with an income, but also engages them in the larger community and gives them purpose and pride.

Back to winners