Sewing Restores Dignity And Hope
Stories of Faith in Action 2009
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When St. Andrew’s Refugee Ministry in Cairo, Egypt
, offered a sewing class to its oldest students, girls signed up first. But boys got interested when ELCA missionaries and co-directors Paul Pierce and Kathy Kamphoefner mentioned that Egypt’s most successful clothing designers are men. Eid, a refugee boy from Somalia, signed up first. Next came Atem, from Southern Sudan. Now the sewing class is mostly boys.
ELCA financial support helps these young refugees in Cairo learn marketable skills.
Each student makes a “rough draft” of the garment from bed sheets. Then they make a final version. Eid’s first shirt was black with the collar and hems top-stitched in white. He and other boys have purchased African print fabric for garments they will sell in the St. Andrew’s bazaar.
The boys and girls in the sewing class are also preparing for the General Certificate of Secondary Education test, which will help them to qualify for further study. And Eid’s mother is learning how to read Arabic in the adult literacy class.
These are just some of the ways that the ELCA touches and changes hundreds of lives through the St. Andrew’s Refugee Ministry. Through your generosity, Eid and his classmates can develop and share talents that restore their dignity and hope so they can succeed when they return home or are resettled.
St. Andrew’s Refugee Ministry is a ministry of St. Andrew’s United Church of Cairo, served by ELCA missionary pastor Clifford Lewis and ELCA Horizon intern Timothy Wrenn. The ELCA supports St. Andrews with personnel, financial grants and designated gifts.
In Egypt, the ELCA also supports the Coptic Evangelical Theological Seminary of the Nile, which serves Arabic-speaking churches and trains pastors, teachers and musicians from Sudan, Iraq, Palestine and Jordan.