TULSA, Okla. — An invitation to visit Ghana seven years ago changed Lisa Tresch's life. She says it didn't take long to realize women there aren't given many opportunities to become self-sufficient, so she focused her efforts on creating apprenticeships for single moms and orphaned children in seven villages.
"But if they can learn to sew or be a hairdresser then they can basically start their own business," Tresch said.
Five years later, Tresch saw the same need here in Tulsa. The refugee population was growing and women were facing the same situation. So she returned home and started helping the women learn how to sew.
"The ultimate goal is for them to earn some kind of income if they choose," Tresch said. "Or to be able to sew for their family."
The women who come to Rising Village Foundation are between 16 and 60, and come from all over the world: Burma, Congo, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Poland and more. About 100 women are learning from 13 volunteer teachers and surprisingly there are no language barriers.
"We don't have any language problems which is surprising, you would think that we would, but we don't," she said.
The fabric is donated, as are the sewing supplies and money to purchase other sewing items. Products are sold online with money going to the women. There are shopping bags, travel bags, zipper bags, clutches and key chains.
Lisa says the Tulsa Community has been very welcoming to these women, which helps make the transition to their new lives in the U.S. much easier.
"That makes it easier for us to build those relationships with them," she said. "Because they trust us, because they have been treated well in Tulsa."
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