Women Empowering Women: Our Woven Community

Make Feb. 12 a night to remember. Take some time from your hectic life and meet refugee women who have come together to learn new skills as they build a very special community. These women have suffered the worst but with the good hearts and souls of the International Institute of Connecticut they are able to create and thrive in their new lives. Come meet them Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m., in the Memorial Room at the Fairfield Public Main Library, 1080 Old Post Road. Registration is requested.

Learn about the International Institute of Connecticut (IICONN) and some of the populations they serve. IICONN provides an array of services for immigrants and refugees, but tonight’s program will focus on two discrete groups-women who have been victims of human trafficking, and refugee women who are taking part in a unique program to learn sewing and business skills.

The program includes a short film that tells the story of one human trafficking victim, as well as a live presentation by a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is a member of Our Woven Community, an IICONN program that introduces recent refugee woman to a creative skill and entrepreneurial opportunity, with the goal of helping them integrate into the community and become self-sufficient.

Give a great friend a special Valentine! You’ll have the opportunity to take home one of the beautiful bags that the Our Woven Community ladies have created. Come and learn more about these newest members of our community, and how you can help them.

All programs at the Fairfield Public Library are free. To register, or for more information about this and other programs, visit fairfieldpubliclibrary.org or call 203-256-3160. Follow the Fairfield Public Library on Twitter: twitter.com/fairfieldpublib and Facebook: facebook.com/fairfieldlibrary.

The International Institute of Connecticut, founded in 1918, is a statewide nonprofit human service agency that assists refugees and immigrants in Connecticut resolve legal, economic, linguistic and social barriers so that they become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community. The Institute achieves this mission by providing a compassionate array of high-quality legal, social and educational programming and by promoting cross cultural understanding and decent treatment for all. It also provides specialized services to victims of serious crimes such as human trafficking, torture, and domestic violence. Each year, the Institute assists over 7,000 individuals from its offices in Bridgeport, Stamford and Hartford.

Our Woven Community, (OWC), is an IICONN pilot program. Its goal is to help new Americans integrate into the community and become more self-sufficient through introducing them to a creative skill and entrepreneurial opportunity. Our first OWC participants are from Congo and have learned to sew. They are now making amazing, hand-crafted handbags, clutches, pillow covers and more. Every OWC item is hand made by a refugee woman now living in Bridgeport, CT and every item includes donated fabrics and materials from our community, and fabrics and materials from theirs. In this way each item symbolizes the importance of weaving our lives, our cultures and our communities together.

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