Etsy Is Helping Support and Empower 25+ Afghan Refugees, and Their Handmade Creations Are All Stunning
After leaving her homeland, Afghanistan native Palwasha moved to Buffalo, New York, with her family in October 2019. She has six children (two of whom she remains separated from while they await Special Immigrant Visas), an astounding sewing expertise, and — now thanks to Etsy — her own small business.
Palwasha is just one of more than 25 Afghan refugees that Etsy aims to help support as part of their ongoing Uplift Makers Program, which creates economic opportunities for artisan communities. Ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20, the brand is partnering with nonprofit organization Nest to establish a new program called the “Afghan Refugees Collective.” That means that, as of today, 20+ Afghan refugee-owned shops (with more to come!) will debut on the Etsy site, featuring everything from one-of-a-kind handmade pillows to wall decor.
This initiative provides an empowering platform for these new, majority-female shop owners — some of whom didn’t even have bank accounts prior to joining Etsy — to celebrate their crafts and financially assist themselves and their families after resettling in the United States. Etsy itself has also donated $200,000 to the collective as a means of kickstarting each refugee small business. The products themselves feature traditional Afghan needlework skills and styles, resulting in beautiful, high-quality designs that you’ll genuinely want to browse… and buy. Prices skew fairly reasonable across the board, too, especially given the thoughtful, handmade nature of each piece.