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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 are able to hire the graduates of non-profit Muses sewing  program along with their friends to apply the skills they have acquired to earn living wages by making sewn and handcrafted goods.  we don’t want additional financial burden incurred by them, so we provide them free training and s 'rent-to-own’ sewing and equipment program. We teach how to turn garment and fabric waste into beautiful and functional goods such as jewelry, accessories and sewn kitchen goods.      

We realize in order to maximize their skill set and provide sustainable employment, we should offer their skill set to other companies and organizations. Started in June 201,, we have begun to offer small batch goods made by our artisans for designers and local companies. We have already have initial successes having our artisans making goods for two companies. The amazing growth opportunities for RAI to produce sewn goods for local designers and small business means we need more artisans to meet the demand. We need volunteers to help us with transporting raw materials and finished goods as our program grow. We are also looking for board members in finance and advisors in desigin and business development.


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