Greetings! I am a proud volunteer with the Refugee Sewing Society (RSS), a nonprofit in Clarkston, Georgia composed of refugee women who have survived war and genocide and have started new lives in America. The Refugee Sewing Society serves refugee women who have fled genocide by providing them with an atmosphere for healing, an opportunity to express creativity, a means for building self-esteem and a source of income. Each week, our women meet to sew, knit, crochet and bead to create beautiful handmade items. The sale of these items generates income the women use to feed and clothe their families.
In pursuit of their mission of 'Mending Hearts and Weaving Hope' the women of the RSS are creating “Refugee Friend" dolls. These dolls represent brave refugee girls from all over the world; girls whose lives were torn apart by war and genocide. These girls, just like their creators, are courageous and filled with compassion and strength. The women of the RSS want to share their journeys via these “Refugee Friend Dolls.” The beauty of the doll is not only that she can be YOUR friend, but that she can also be the friend of your American Girl* doll or other similar 18" dolls. All of our “Refugee Friend” dolls can share American Girl* clothing and accessories! So now all girls can have a Refugee Friend!
The first doll in the “Refugee Friend” doll series is Nomi, a 12-year-old refugee from South Sudan. She is made as authentically as possible and wears a beautiful traditional outfit. She is 18” tall and all smiles. For the first time ever, the RSS has published a full-length children's book, “Nomi’s Hiding Place”, that tells Nomi's harrowing and triumphant story. The book was written by Catherine Palmer, a best-selling Christian novelist and the founder of the Refugee Sewing Society!
You and your pre-teen or young adult will join Nomi in a captivating and heartfelt adventure. Here’s a short quote from the book as Nomi comes to terms with her new identity:
- “What’s a refugee?” Peter wondered. “That is us. Refugees are those who can’t stay in their village – or even in their own country – because there are too many bad people wanting to kill them.” “We used to be Sudanese, but the rebels have turned us into refugees?” Nomi ventured. “Yes, they have.” Auntie scowled for a moment, but her lovely smile soon returned. “But God is with us..."
Each Refugee Friend doll is hand-sewn with high quality cotton fabric and filled with all-new fiberfill. All their dresses are made from authentic Tanzanian fabric! Each face is lovingly hand-painted; and all the jewelry, undergarments, shoes and accessories are hand-crafted by our ladies right here at the RSS facility. Each doll is truly a collectible, as well as a perfect friend for fostering children’s creative play and global awareness. This doll represents the untold story of young girls overcoming oppression and finding hope.
Historically, the ladies of the RSS have worked individually, receiving 70% of the retail price of each item they make that we are able to sell. This is several times higher than most cause-producers like us around the world, but we think it could be even better. We have realized that if they work together in a production line, their income would be higher, because TOGETHER they have the power to create more than they could ever achieve alone (what a great message!). The purpose of this campaign is to launch their production line into a permanently sustainable part of their social enterprise.
All funds from the campaign will go to pay for the women's Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): to create the dolls, run the production facility, and pay the women for their work. The RSS is a completely non-profit social enterprise of our parent 501c3 Friends of Refugees (EIN: 201989492). You can see more about F.O.R.'s great reputation as a responsible nonprofit on Guidestar.
Once you decide to get involved with the Nomi campaign, there are some fantastic rewards! They are listed over to the right and include everything from a glamorous outfit and a copy of the new book, to a matching purse set, and the Nomi doll herself!
* The RSS does not have any relationship with the American Girl © brand or product line, but offers it as an industry standard reference point for compatibility and size.
Nota Bene: Pledges may be Tax Deductible beyond the Retail Value of the items in the pledge. For example, the $500 Fashion Forward Pledge contains items totaling $260 in retail value, leaving a tax deductible contribution of $240. Please just ask us if you need information on a specific pledge's deductible value!
Risks and challenges
As with any project, there are always unexpected challenges. More than anything else, production issues can be caused by running out of certain materials. All that means for you, the consumer, is that your Nomi will arrive wearing a beautiful blue, green, yellow or red traditional outfit. We can take color requests but, in the end, we can make no promises about Nomi's outfit color/pattern.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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