International Neighbors Charlottesville program helps refugees sew

Old sewing machines are being repaired and given a new life for a good cause.

International Neighbors Charlottesville program helps refugees sew

CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) -One Charlottesville organization is giving refugees the skills and tools they need in order to make a new life here in America.

The gift of a sewing machine from International Neighbors Charlottesville is one that keeps on giving. Refugees can provide clothing and household goods for their families and create a source of income.

Deborah Jackson who volunteers with International Neighbors Charlottesville helps collect and fix dozens of sewing machines for refugees.

"It’s very important because they are used to sewing their own clothing pillows and home accessories and mending and to have to come here without any of that has really been a bottle neck for them,” said Jackson.

Sylvan Kassondwa is one of the sewing machine recipients. He came to Charlottesville in 2016 with his family after they spent 16 years in Uganda as refugees.

He is now using his sewing skills to help others who have been in his shoes by teaching his own sewing class for refugees at International Neighbors Charlottesville.

"When you know how to do adjustment you can do fitting you can buy and it can be just as easy to get yourself and then life can be very easy," said Kassondwa.

International Neighbors Charlottesville is asking for the community to donate old sewing machines or Jo-Ann fabrics gift cards to keep Sylvan’s sewing class going.

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