Sylvia*, Martine* and Diane* are three young women who have gone from living comfortably in homes in their own country, to living in tents in a foreign country. They have lost everything familiar to them; life has been completely recalibrated. For all three future hope is “pinned” on a sewing school which started in September in the Bekaa Valley.
Harmony is the name of the second school started by Esther* and her team who work with Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. With the success of She is Safe (originally called Hook & Thread) in the first half of the year, the team received enough financial support from supporters in other countries to replicate what worked well by starting a second school.
In an exciting turn of events a Christian man from Syria, also displaced, and a well-known designer and sewing teacher has now joined the project to lead this sewing school. He brings remarkable talent, experience and expertise to the project, and lives locally with his wife and children.
“The girls are excited to be taught by such a knowledgeable and talented designer”
“Initially I thought a male teacher would be a problem,” shares Esther. “But in fact the girls are really excited to be taught by such a knowledgeable and talented designer.” There are 35 young women in the school, each with stories similar to Sylvia, Martine and Diane:
Sylvia (21) escaped to Lebanon with her fiancé after they lost everything in Syria. Her fiancé suddenly disappeared and she is alone with no parents or friends. She lives in a tent with some extended family members.
Martine’s (24) husband went missing three years ago, and she has not heard from or about him since then. Her dream is to secure a future for her 4 year old daughter, free of all the problems she currently faces.
Diane (19) is the oldest of 7 siblings. Despite have a physical disability she works with her father to support their family, paying for the schooling of her brothers and sisters.
Their homes have been destroyed, possessions stolen, and they all have a dream of pulling themselves and their families out of the current dire situation. Harmony not only gives them training and support, but a focus for their talents and a community to belong to.
She is Safe school also has 35 students; 19 graduated in November, some of whom work for Esther’s ministry sewing clothes for children in the camp. The others have managed to find employment now that they have skills. Over the last few months She is Safe took the training one step further, educating on small business development and how to work independently. Graduates were also given sewing machines. One graduate has started her own tent business with great success.
Over the last few months She is Safe took the training one step further, educating on small business development and how to work independently.
“All these young women dream of returning to their homes in Syria, once the war is over. And they hope to work. God willing, they will return with a sewing machine in one hand, and a new, renewed faith in God in the other,” shares Esther.