Interview with Beyond the Fabric

Through the magic of the Internet I learnt of an a fantastic organisation called Beyond The FabricThis organisation empowers a group of female refugees in Indonesia by selling beautiful handmade pants sewed and designed by these women, and $12.00 from each pair of pants (most retail for around $25.00) goes directly towards the women who created them, whilst the rest of the profits go towards electricity, water, food, transport, sewing machines and materials for the Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia. 

This support group provides education and livelihoods for these female refugees, who are unable to work or be re-settled in Indonesia. I did an email interview with Carly & Darren from Beyond The Fabric over email, and they gave me some amazing insights into the way that the organisation helps refugees in a number of ways.

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Image of Kalsoom Jaffari (Founder of Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia)- this  original image can be found here, and is the sole creative property of Beyond The Fabric & The Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia.

What are the primary aims of Beyond the Fabric?

In collaboration with Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia, the sale of beautiful handmade pants online support a community-based group of refugee and asylum seeker women who run a range of activities while in transit in Cisarua, Indonesia. These activities include handicraft, sewing classes, swimming lessons, English and Bahasa classes, music classes and health care classes.

Can you describe the situation of the women involved in this organisation?
There is a group of 20 strong-willed women and one talented tailor behind our pants. Underneath their skills and optimism is the reality that they are refugees. They cannot work in Indonesia, or be resettled there. Our story goes Beyond the Fabric. It aims to restore a sense of purpose and dignity to refugees who are living a vulnerable and precarious life in transit.

Quote by Kalsoom Jaffari, Founder of Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia:

‘Here in Cisarua, refugee women come from different countries and different ethnicities. Through this group, they have become friends with each other and through these classes, women become aware about our different cultures. When they come to class, they forget their problems. They relax and they laugh’.

How can the public help and support your cause?

Our pants are sold from $25 AUD with $12 of every pants sold in Australia given to the talented woman who created them (an amount decided by the women) enabling these women to support their families whilst in transit. The remaining profits contribute to electricity, water, food, transport, sewing machines and materials to sustain classes and activities run by Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia.

Quote by Carly Copolov, Co-founder of Beyond the Fabric and PhD candidate at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne:

‘Beyond the Fabric allows everyday Australians to show their support of refugees in Indonesia by wearing their new pants handmade by refugee women’

What are your hopes for the future change this organisation can make?

Beyond the Fabric allows refugee women in Indonesia to support each other through friendship and sharing, with the aim to empower women.

Quote by Kalsoom Jaffari, Founder of Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia:
‘My intention is for people to know about refugee women in Indonesia and that they suffer from stress, financial problems and health problems. If they have opportunity, they can prove themselves. They need your attention and support’.

Follow Beyond The Fabric on Facebook & Instagram and remember to #beyondthefabric

(also, if you’re in need of a last minute gift for someone, keep Beyond The Fabric in mind to support an amazing cause!)

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