House of Freedom: Women Refugee Tailors

〣 Location: Bogor, Indonesia
〣 No of Artisans: 15
〣 Specialty Skill: Stitching & Sewing

"At this House, we envision these women to cry and laugh, to create and dream, to feel safe, heard and loved. Our goal for House of Freedom is to restore hope and dignity to women through skill-building, employment opportunities and a loving community. Most importantly, we (want to) equip them to be independent, dignified and holistic individuals by using their creativity and skills to handcraft each product with love."

- Tamara Dewi, CEO of House of Freedom by Liberty Society

Most of the 15 Afghan women refugees coming through the doors of House of Freedom have been residing in Indonesia for many years as a holding place; pending a transition to another country where they can call home. This fuelled the start to creating a better place at present, one where dignity and restoration can be their story.

The House of Freedom was set up by Liberty Society, spearheaded in 2019 by Tamara Dewi with the aim of abolishing injustice: "we wanted to give purpose and dignity back to marginalised women whose voices were taken away, those who are shackled by the chains of poverty and hopelessness.".

At the House, they strive to take a holistic approach with the women under their care. Sewing training alongside language, arts, and other enrichment classes are held for the women and their children. Apart from that, where necessary, the team distributes food aid, as well as essential educational workshops. and community gatherings to foster a sense of belonging amongst the community.

Having the ability to learn and better oneself can be a privilege that may be often taken for granted. Many of the women including Ms SJ lamented that "being far from our country and our people is hard, I am not happy, but I am thinking if I were in Afghanistan, I wouldn't go out there to learn something as it may not be safe (for a woman). Here, I appreciate the opportunity."

The House's goal with a training-to-employment model also means that they get to set every woman on the path to earning a living wage and at the same time allow them to be a productive member of the workforce with clocking in at least 40 hours a week.

What gives meaning to the 15 women artisans from the refugee sewing community at the House of Freedom is indeed the ability to improve not just their lives but the lives of their children and family, by putting food on the table and keeping their children in school.

Images by Liberty Society