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Ka Naw,
 Head Seamstress

Ka Naw is a Karen refugee woman from Burma that was resettled to Akron six years ago. An extremely talented seamstress, she was (and still is!) well known in her refugee camp for making high quality apparel. As Head Seamstress she oversees all traditional clothing design and production, and also trains other refugee women in apparel making techniques. Despite only knowing a few English phrases, she's one of the wittiest people you'll ever meet. She also loves the camera.


 

Kaser, Shop Lead

Kaser is a Karen refugee woman originally from Burma. She joined our team in November 2014 with no previous sewing experience, but because of her dedication she began sewing on her own after just a few short months of training! Since arriving in the US, Kaser has continued to improve her English-speaking abilities, which allows her to help translate for Karen women in the shop. Although on the quiet side, her extreme attention to detail and responsible nature has promoted her to Shop Lead among our team members.

 


Chandra,
 Seamstress

Chandra is originally from Bhutan, but at the young age of two her family was forced to relocate to a refugee camp in Nepal. Chandra grew up on the sewing machine and has a love for textiles and aspirations of being a fashion designer. She's the young, spunky team member with lots of energy that she pours into her work.

 

 

Gel Re, Seamstress

Gel Re is a refugee woman from Burma who spent about a decade in a refugee camp in Thailand. She learned to sew in Burma at the age of 18, and this skill allowed her to find work while in the Thai camp. Gel Re has been in Akron for about 9 years. She is a very soft-spoken woman, but when she does open her mouth she only ever has something sweet to say to you.

 

 

Tessa Reeves, Chief Neighbor

After an eye-opening stint in the NYC fashion industry, Tessa put aside her dreams of climbing the masthead at Vogue (which included leaving a post there 3 weeks in) and set out to find a career where she could use her education in a more meaningful way. Eyeing the non-profit world, she fell into community development work as a volunteer in Akron, which was her first introduction to Ohio's refugee community. She soon fell in love with the smiles and stories of her refugee neighbors, and decided she felt the call to give her life to refugee work. When presented with the opportunity to use her degree to launch a small business that created employment for refugee seamstresses, she grabbed it and took off running.

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