Peace of Thread

Each bag is handcrafted, and one-of-a-kind by a beautiful refugee woman.

Growing in Grace

Peace of Thread

Spring has sprung!  And there are growing things everywhere (as evidenced by the amount of pollen in the air!)  2018-2019 has been a year of tremendous growth for Peace of Thread as well!  We saw a 33% increase in profits last year, and Denise Smith says we are “maxed out” with twelve seamstresses!  Our volunteering is booming too.  We’re pulling in volunteers from new places, such as local high schools.

  But numbers are only part of the story.    If you want to understand the real impact that Peace of Thread is having, you need to meet our seamstresses in person.  They are some of the most vibrant women I know. Come to one of our shows, and you’ll meet Noor* who came to the U.S. as a refugee back in 2003.  She now trains our seamstresses, and you can see how confident and in charge of things she is.  You’ll see Maria’s* kind and smiling face and hear how much her English has improved.  Anisa* was so shy when she first came to the U.S., and now she’s very outgoing. Our seamstresses gain new confidence and social skills as they spend time in a welcoming American community.

  And If you drop by our training center in Clarkston, Georgia, you can see women from around the world working with women from the U.S. to create our wonderful bags.     Seamstresses learn which fabric colors look best together and how to make sure their cross stitching is perfect.  The sewing machines hum as a new trainee learns her craft. Occasionally someone shows up with a baby, and everyone drops their work to coo and fuss.  Peace of Thread empowers women to work and be mothers at the same time.

Wherever you meet us, you’ll see smiles and hear laughter as we live and learn together.

In conclusion, Peace of Thread has grown in the profits we’ve made and the number of employees we’ve hired.   But the real blooming is going on inside of our seamstresses.  It’s all thanks to you: our donors and volunteers!  Thank you so much for your support!

*Name changed to protect privacy

PEACE OF THREAD: A SAFE PLACE

Peace of Thread

With all the violence being highlighted in the news, it’s no secret that the world is a dangerous place.  No one knows this fact better than our refugee friends, who live the news.  They and their families have experienced firsthand the hunger, violence, and loss that most of us only see on our television screens.  They had to leave their homes and come to a foreign place with a different language and culture.  Add in the fact that a lot of Americans are hostile to people with Muslim backgrounds, and it’s not surprising that a lot of our friends are afraid when they arrive here.

Fortunately, one of Peace of Thread’s core values is providing an atmosphere of no fear for refugees to work in.  In Clarkston, women from the East and the West work together to master the challenges of managing a business.   In the process, the seamstresses develop life-long relationships with people who can help them learn English and acclimate to American culture.  Becoming self-sufficient helps our seamstresses feel safe.   Having friends who will share in their lives-both the joys and the sorrows-also provides refuge for these women whose native communities have been fractured.

Peace of Thread also helps these women’s’ families feel safe.  April Claybagh, our team and support specialist, explains that many women from places like Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t used to working outside the home and their husbands are not used to their wives working outside the home either. The idea of their wives leaving the house and going to work is a bit daunting for these men.  They worry for their wives’ safety.  But because Peace of Thread is a woman-only space which also offers the opportunity to work from home, it feels less threatening to them.  Refugee couples can rebuild their lives together because husbands know that their wives are not being harmed or exploited in their new careers.

The causes of our friends’ problems-war, persecution, disaster ect.-are very complex. The Team at Peace of Thread can’t solve everything.  But we can provide a refuge for them using the beautiful facilities in Clarkston that God has gifted to us and the even more important resource of our friendship.

GROWING GOOD THINGS

Peace of Thread

“Cultivate”- transitive verb 2a. to foster the growth of”  Merriam-Webster Dictionary online

“You cultivate what you celebrate.”  Buddy Hoffman, a dear friend of Peace of Thread who passed away in 2016, often quoted this common saying. At Peace of Thread, we celebrate friendship, and we work to cultivate it.  Nowhere was that more obvious than at our April 14th fundraising concert.

It’s appropriate that the concert took place at Garner Farm in Lilburn, Ga.   The farm is owned by a couple named Paul and Jessica Vaughn, and cultivation is their life.  They grow vegetables, blueberries, and muscadines on their land and raise chickens to provide eggs.    This wonderful couple opened their home and yard to Peace of Thread because they too have a passion for refugees.

The concert was fantastic! Lanterns lit the way to a yard full of people sitting on picnic blankets and enjoying uplifting music. Inside the house, there were yummy desserts to eat and exquisite treasures for auction (including a plaque with Buddy’s saying on it).     There was an atmosphere of friendship and peace, the shalom that Peace of Thread so prizes.  God helped us raise over $18,000, which we will use to continue empowering refugee women!

But the best part was that Anisa* and Noor* were there.  Our friends who came from desperate circumstances and are now thriving.  We walked with Anisa hospitalization for pneumonia and have recently seen her become a U.S. citizen.   Noor has been with Peace of Thread since its beginning, and now she trains women herself.  We were honored several months ago to help her tell her story to the media.   Anisa and Noor are just some of the women we’ve cultivated friendship with over the years through visits, meals, and conversations.

The word “cultivation” implies hard work, diligence. It gives us the mental image of someone bent over, covered in dirt. Just like growing plants, building and maintaining friendships can be a messy process. But when we see the people we care about growing strong in their new lives, cultivation becomes celebration.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

Read more about Anisa in the May 27, 2016 post “Peace of Thread: More Than Just Purses”

Read more about Noor in the June 18, 2016 post “A Different Story”  the July 15, 2016 post “Now I Am Strong”