Despite how different they are from one another, two sewing groups in Nelson and Kabul support one another.
A group of formerly displaced people known as Global Stitch Up meets at the art center run by Nelson’s Cultural Conversations. Ejaad is a modest group of Afghan women who gather covertly to work as seamstresses.
Tanya Nock purchases eye-catching handbags from Ejaad with the money she makes from Global Stitch Up and then sells them in the store she established in Morrison Square.
“The women are helping each other,” Nock said.
The 15 members of Global Stitch Up, who were once refugees and migrants, alternate leading workshops where participants create products for sale like scrunchies, face pads, and bags.
“This is a community coming together,” Nock said. “It’s about the women establishing friendships, relationships, and hobbies.”
In the meantime, 32 women from Ejaad, a group that meets covertly to learn English and sew, live in Kabul.
Ejaad co-founder Andrea Morris said while small, the sewing initiative was “huge” for the women, who live under increasingly authoritarian Taliban rule.
Morris, a Taranaki native who works as a teacher at a global institute in India, has firsthand knowledge of the conditions in Afghanistan.
“None of the women have work,” Morris said. “It’s been very challenging to find work there since the Taliban took control.”
There has been a large number of male fatalities and a poor economy. She claimed that many families have turned to the black market to make ends meet.
Morris claimed that the women’s access to the sewing group was crucial.
“The women benefit directly from every sale. Choosing how to spend the money is up to them. This could entail purchasing milk, food, or children’s medications.”
Even though the situation for Afghan women living under Taliban rule was dire, Morris found solace in the worldwide support for Ejaad and other grassroots organizations that were working in the background.
As a result of a recent fundraising effort, the not-for-profit organization was able to construct a learning center and Ejaad’s products are now sold all over the world, according to Morris.
They intended to purchase computers and make arrangements for healthcare next year.
Morris noted the significance of Ejaad’s relationship to Cultural Conversations. “The Nelson community’s support is truly wonderful.”