As an immigrant myself, this project is very close to my heart and its main objective is to give immigrant women a voice and a sense of participation within society by giving them a space to slowly stitch their thoughts and feelings on a piece of cloth while talking and sitting around other women in a safe and supportive environment.
I have been telling my own immigration story for the last 22 years. In different formats and through different vehicles I have been re creating my immigration realities and supporting my own identity transformation. My self representation and self identity has been an on going process which has gone through many different stages.
However, in the process of documenting my story as a way of understanding my new surroundings and my own journey as an immigrant in New Zealand I realized that the sense of lack that was with me all the time came from the lack of belonging… a lack of community around me… a lack of family…a lack of warmth from an extended group of caring people. Realizing and accepting this truth was not easy, but as I was processing my AHA moment I was writing “The traveling sewing box project” as a way of sharing, teaching and coming together to fill that void that unfortunately happens when we leave our family and everything that is familiar to us behind.
My story is a positive story, is a story of growth, a story of transformation and appreciation. It is my mission to create safe and encouraging spaces for immigrant women to get together and support each other in their own immigration journeys while sustaining and preserving their own culture, speaking their own native language and documenting their migrating realities in an ongoing piece of cloth. To date I have taken “The traveling sewing box project”(C) to Latin American communities, Middle Eastern communities and have invited children of different ages to be part of the project as well.
Throughout 2018 in partnership with ALAC we facilitated three different programmes in Hamilton, Auckland and Waiheke Island. It was an amazing experience and one that has changed the way I see myself as an educator. Using my knowledge of craft, textiles and sustainable practices I am now in a mission to assist and help women throughout their settlement process in New Zealand by empowering them in their transitioning and ever evolving immigrant identity journey.
Here are some pics of the wonderful women which I was lucky to meet through “The traveling sewing box project”(C)