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Refugee Artisan Initiative

Cause Area

  • Advocacy & Human Rights
  • Immigrants & Refugees
  • Justice & Legal
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Women


12337 Lake City Way NESEATTLE, WA 98125 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Refugee Artisan Initiative's mission is to transform lives of refugee and immigrant women by providing sustainable employment in sewing and handcrafting products. As part of the Refugee Artisan Initiative, we: •Hire and train immigrant women with sewing skills. •Enable artisans to work from home in an enterprise that needs little space. •Help women overcome language, transportation, and cultural barriers to employment. •Pay the Seattle-mandated minimum hourly wage. •Use recycled and repurposed materials, so our goods are easy on the environment. •Treat workers as collaborative and creative partners. •Help provide inroads for immigrants to enter into mainstream American life.


We believe useful skills with proper tools and equipment can transform lives. Many refugee and immigrant women come to the Seattle area with limited skills and education, but have a strong desire to work. We intake and assess women with varying sewing skills to help them earn living wages by making sewn and handcrafted goods.  We also provide sewing training and have a 'rent-to-own’ sewing and equipment program. We implement a circular economy by utilizing upcycled fabric and materials by converting them to beautiful small-batch manufactured products.   

RAI started in 2017 and has served 36 Artisans to date. The amazing growth opportunities for RAI to produce sewn goods for partner corporations, local designers and small business means we have the opportunity to serve more Artisans who are now on a waitlist. We need volunteers to help us nurture a volunteer to artisan engagement program so we are developing an Artisan holistically and not just by the stipend she earns through the creation of products.


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