Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

From an amateur to fashion designer: Syrian Refugees

Features | 2019-05-02 02:55:53
From an amateur to fashion designer: Syrian Refugees
(Zaman Al Wasl)- In the border town of Arsal, behind a Syrian factory that specializes in sewing and fashion design, named "Orchid Flower," stands Souad Kassem Shehada, a refugee from Homs countryside. The establishment was the culmination of a long period of hard work, made more difficult the concerns of asylum and alienation.

"I could not take any of my sewing tools when we were displaced from my hometown in Qusayr in 2013," Souad “Om Mohamed” told Zaman al-Wasl correspondent in Arsal refugee camps.

"I started sewing in this town with a butterfly sewing machine that I borrowed from a Lebanese family, and from a small room that was designed to be a water pump room, I started my work, which was limited to repairing worn out suits and dresses," she said.

After a year and a half of work clothes Om Mohamed adds, "I was able to save for an electric sewing machine and moved my work to the main town square where I began to develop my work and to design evening and wedding gowns." 

The fame of Om Mohammed and her skill and mastery of her work opened the opportunity for her to be selected as a sewing teacher by the team of MAPs organization and to teach those wishing to master this craft in the camps of Arsal in training courses.

Om Mohamed’s facility provided jobs for five Syrian workers and—with the expansion of its work and its development—contains five sewing machines and two plotting machines that were a personal effort of the gifted fifties in her project, which later evolved into a real design workshop.

Her project, that she aspires to turn into a house of fashion design in the future, faces many obstacles with the absence of supporting bodies. The most important of these obstacles, she adds, is the establishment’s lack of many important mechanisms such as embroidery machine, riveting machine, threading and button fitting machines, as well as the lack of steam ironing and electric scissors, in addition to the cost of the monthly rent of about $ 400.

The Orchid Flower factory, which was the result of over six years of hard labor and effort since the refugee’s arrival in Lebanon, is another achievement added to what Syrian women have offered in the refugee camps. It is a sign of success that confirms to the world that the tents are capable of producing successful innovators who confront the harshness of the conditions of asylum through challenge and success.

Zaman Al Wasl
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