giving totals

Total funding goal: $1,165

Total funding to date: $1,165

Remaining goal: $0

Total Donors: 4

Multicultural Refugee Coalition

Multicultural Refugee Coalition is a long-term support network for refugees settled to the Austin area from around the world. Our mission is to empower refugees towards self-sufficiency through education, community and reconciliation. We currently offer

Project start date: 06/04/2011

Project completion date: 12/31/2013

MRC Refugee Artisan Program

Austin, United States

The Multicultural Refugee Coalition Sewing Lab teaches adult refugees settled to the Austin area technical skills in sewing to create clothes, bags, quilts and other products for themselves, their families and to sell. Refugees complete a series of self-passed lessons on the basics of how to operate and maintain a sewing machine, stitch styles, and how to read a pattern. Each week, refugees practice their English while learning new skills and assisting one another in learning how to sew and how to navigate their new home. With your support, we would like to continue to grow this successful program by offering more advanced classes in mending, clothing and pattern design, and home accessories so that refugees can learn the skills needed for employment and can develop products to sell to contribute to their household income. The program provides a place for community for refugees from Burma, Burundi, Bhutan, Iraq, Congo, Somalia, Sudan and more. It instills confidence and a sense of self-sufficiency as they settle into their new community of Austin.

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Where this project is located

Info about United States

While our project is located in Austin, Texas we are benefitting women in all of the areas of which the refugees come from such as Congo, Burma, Iraq, Burundi, Bhutan, Somalia, Sudan and more. "By providing opportunities for me here in America, you allow me to help my family that are still left behind the countries of which I fled" - refugee from Liberia

Project Milestones


About 1,000 refugees are settled to Austin, Texas each year from around the world from places such as Congo, Burundi, Iraq, Bhutan, Afghanistan and more.  Multicultural Refugee Coalition was formed by 2 Liberian refugees settled to Austin and 2 American women who saw a need for a long-term support network for refugees in their community.  MRC became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in May 2009 and has been offering programs in sewing, job skills, computer literacy, children and youth programs, gardening and soccer.  Since our beginning we served over 600 refugees from 17 different countries.

We are currently located at Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin.  Each Saturday refugees gather to share resources, communicate with one another, get assistance and learn new skills.  We have 15 sewing machines that we set up each week and have been providing basic instruction to at least 15 refugees each week.  We rely on donated fabric from a variety of sources and many volunteers to keep this program going each week.  Many new friendships have been formed as they share across cultures sewing skills and new ideas with one another.  Many clothes and household items have been made which provide a sense ownership and accomplishment at a time that many other things in their lives are uncertain.  

We would like to improve our programs by offering 3-week classes as mentioned above for 10 students at a time with a paid instructor so that our program can move more from a basic sewing class to offering many different types of classes that would have a longer-term benefit.  We need your support to make this happen.  

More Information

Multicultural Refugee Coalition is on a mission to empower refugees settled to Austin towards self-sufficiency through education, community and reconciliation efforts.  We offer programs in artisan development, job development, computer literacy, youth and children's programs, gardening and soccer.  

We are a long-term refugee-driven support network providing community driven services soon after arrival to as long as needed to feel adjusted to their new community.

When refugees come to Austin, they typically don't have family networks to rely on, and  Multicultural Refugee Coalition and wants them to feel welcome in Austin while helping them on their way to self-reliance.