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HomeHealth and LifestyleSyrian Women in Peterborough say "thank you" with hand sewn Canadian Flags

Syrian Women in Peterborough say “thank you” with hand sewn Canadian Flags


By Carol Lawless

In the Sunflower Room at the New Canadians Centre, six women are busy sewing Canadian flags. 

Members of a pilot project, The Newcomer Women’s Sewing Collective is a first for the city of Peterborough. Still in its infancy, the program helps newcomer women join together to learn new skills, develop and enhance language while at the same time sharing and honing their talents to create products suitable for a start-up social enterprise. The first 8-week project at the New Canadians Centre (NCC) Peterborough involves six newcomer women from Syria.

“For newcomer women, this is more than just a working environment,” says Yvonne Lai, Director, Community Development (interim) at New Canadians Centre. “It is a safe space where they can connect with each other, form friendships and share details about their daily challenges as they build a new life in Peterborough.”
Grateful for the support and friendship extended to them since fleeing their war torn country of Syria, the women of the collective are sewing Canadian flags as a way of saying thank you. “One of the women in the collective, Emine, whispered to me she wanted to make a Canadian flag,” says Reem Ali, Community Development Worker at the New Canadians Centre. “The next thing I knew, she had sewn one and was sharing it with the rest of the group. It was very heartwarming to see this.”

In addition to sewing Canadian flags, the collective are busy producing decorative coffee sleeves, potholders adorned with the maple leaf and more for the upcoming Gilmour Street Garage Sale, which takes place May 27th.“A member of our community, Patricia Quinn, has kindly offered the Newcomer Women’s Sewing Collective a table at the annual neighbourhood sale,” says Lai. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the women of the group to engage with our community while earning some income for the work they’ve produced. We’re very grateful they’ve been given this chance considering we are only a few weeks into the project.”Many of the outreach programs designed to support integration into a welcoming community delivered by the New Canadians Centre are not government funded. Programs like the Newcomer Women’s Sewing Collective, Mother Goose and the Women’s Group rely on the generosity of donor support.
By making a monthly donation of $5, $10, $15, $25, you can help newcomers like the women of the sewing collective have access to programs designed to develop and enhance language skills, build self-esteem and become independent—every month, all year long. Please sign up to become a monthly donor today. Help #bringpeopletogether: Go here for more info.


This story was originally published on ptbocanada.com.


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