Components of the Program
The Community Cloth is a multi-faceted program
Entrepreneurship + Peer & Wellness Support Groups + Financial Coaching & Capability Building + Market Opportunities
Components of the Program
We rely on community involvement and support to effectively empower refugee artisans in the following ways:
Part of The Community Cloth model is teaching each artisan about small business development. We aim to provide the women with the knowledge they need to effectively grow their business within The Community Cloth. The ultimate goal is for each artisan to eventually spin off into their own small business, if they so choose.
We empower the artisans through training sessions to expose them to business models, teaching them basic small business skills, as well as hosting product development training for those interested in expanding product lines. In addition, we offer workshops for artisans to learn new crafts, or expand upon their current craft.
Peer & Wellness Support Groups
The Community Cloth encourages a supportive community of friendship among the artisans by inviting each one to join a peer support group — informal gatherings of artisans 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 trusting community of women from all walks of life.
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 their craft, 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 Alliance Wellness Center collaborates with The Community Cloth to support group activities with culturally and linguistically competent behavioral health care services. Counseling and referral to medical services are also available for individual artisan needs.
Financial Coaching & Capability Building
The Alliance Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) provides one-on-one financial coaching services in income support, financial literacy, personal banking, and small business development. The coaches meet with the artisans to discuss financial goals, education and vocational training, credit building, home and car ownership, and Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloans. These programs holistically help the artisans achieve 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.