Strong. Brave. Resilient.

Strong. Brave. Resilient.


These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I hear Sawasm tell me her stories. Sawasm, one of our Artisans from Iraq, has braved things I can’t even imagine. Along with her husband and eight children, Sawasm was targeted by the Taliban, who attacked their family and ran them out of Iraq. 


Sawasm’s family was prominent and had many comforts, but were forced to leave their possessions behind, taking only the clothes on their back, their ID’s and a little cash.  That’s it. She found herself alone, homeless, without a community of family and friends, seeking political asylum. She traveled through five different countries over seven years before arriving in the US. She had lost everything, yet clung to her faith and hope of a better future.


But God works for good in all situations, and thankfully God brought Sawasm to Charlotte and ultimately to Fashion & Compassion. Through our jewelry program at Project 658, Sawasm has found hope.  She is rebuilding her life.  She has her documentation and her family is safe.  F&C is giving her a new purpose, a supportive community, and a sense of hope each week.  Her enthusiasm for our jewelry project is inspiring!  She told me “I can’t sleep at night because I want to be here.  Fashion & Compassion gives me help, community, and something beautiful.  I come here and I am very, very happy.” 


It’s hard to measure the power of community for any of us. But when you’ve been forced from your home and traveled across oceans to new lands, the power of community is immeasurable.  That degree of healing and hope can only be provided through God, and we are grateful that F&C is a vehicle to restorative healing.


Her name is pronounced like “so awesome” – and that describes Sawasm perfectly!  She serves as a mother to other artisans who have been separated from loved ones and shares her wisdom on a daily basis. As several Artisan's stories of coming to the US are similar to Sawasam's, they each find such comfort in the maternal welcome her open arms bring to each project. She's full of warmth, love, and bravery....bravery a badge of honor and proclamation for herself and each Artisan to F & C. 


She is our angel and is so very, very awesome.


I feel blessed to be spending my days with women like Sawasm, serving as the new Executive Director of F&C and following in the footsteps of our founder, Michele Dudley.  This is a very special place and we are grateful for your support and joining us in building empowering, cross-cultural communities, right here in Charlotte and around the world.


Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13: 1-2


See more of Sawasm on the video below.  You can support Sawasm and our other artisans further by making a donation or shopping from our Collections. 


Thank you for joining us on this journey of hope!


Beth Bell



Comments (1)

  • Tamara Park on Feb 10, 2020

    How inspiring! Thanks for sharing Sawasam’s beautiful story.

Leave a comment