Components of the Program
The Community Cloth is a multi-faceted program
Seed Grants + Peer & Wellness Support Groups + Artisan Trainings + Market Opportunities
Components of the Program
We rely on community involvement and support to effectively empower refugee artisans in the following ways:
Artisans are provided materials. When an individual artisan’s product sells, the cost of materials for each product is deducted and put back into the program for purchase of more materials. Through this method, artisans do not have to shoulder the material costs upfront but instead through the sale of their products. This gives artisans their first opportunity in building their own business. When an artisan is ready, they then can shoulder material cost on their own.
The Community Cloth encourages community building among artisans by inviting each artisan to join a peer support group — informal gatherings of artisans (who usually reside within the same or nearby apartment complexes) that get together to knit, weave, talk, and support each other in a variety of ways. By working together on their craft, they build close relationships, peer support and create a community around themselves.
The support groups also provide an opportunity to teach and pass on their art form, as some of the artisans begin to teach their daughters as they were once taught by their mothers. Mothers become mentors to apprentice daughters and as a result their art and culture survives. Artisan apprenticeships are also extended to women in the community.
The AMCS Wellness Center collaborates with The Community Cloth to support group activities with culturally and linguistically competent behavioral health care services. Counseling and other medical services are also available for individual artisan needs.
The Community Cloth hosts artisan training sessions to expose the artisans to business models, teaching them basic small business skills as well as hosting product development trainings for those interested in expanding product lines. The Alliance Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) provides 1-on-1 coaching services in the areas of income support, financial literacy, and small business development. The coaches discuss financial goals, education & vocational training, credit building, home & car ownership, and Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloans, with the artisans to help lead them to financial stability and self-sufficiency.
The Community Cloth helps our artisans expand market opportunities through scheduling private in home sales events, developing vendor opportunities with our local retail partners, and organizing and promoting public sales events. All proceeds go directly to the artisans and the program.