Our Story

There is a group of 93 strong-willed women and one talented tailor behind our pants & clutches in the West Java town Cisarua, in Indonesia. Underneath their skills and optimism is the reality that they are refugees. They can't work in Indonesia, or be resettled there. Our story goes Beyond the Fabric. It aims to restore a sense of purpose and dignity to refugees who are living a vulnerable and precarious life in transit.

Wherever she goes, Kalsoom cultivates the ground for growth and change. Amidst hopelessness she has created an opportunity for women to come together and regain their strength.

Hi my lovely friends - welcome!

I am the founder of the Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia. Our aim is to provide education and skills to empower the women. I created this group as refugee women face a lot of problems. This group allows us to share our problems and make new friends, whilst receiving much needed knowledge and education, which is unavailable to many refugees.

There are 60 women who are students in our handicraft classes. Our teacher is also a refugee and from our community. He voluntarily teaches the group. We have three classes for sewing and each class consist of 10 students. Classes run from 3pm to 6pm.

Here in Cisarua, refugee women come from different countries and different ethnicities. Through this group, they have become friends with each other and through these classes women become aware about our different cultures. When they come to class they forget their problems. They relax and they laugh.

Before this, we sold our handicraft at different stalls in Jakarta. Now we are selling our pants in Australia! It will empower the women and give them the right to spend the money they receive on what they need to. Selling at the market for refugees can be difficult and now being able to provide our handmade pants to Australia opens up a whole new world for us.

My intention is for people to know about refugee women in Indonesia and that they suffer from stress, financial problems and health problems. If they have opportunity they can prove themselves. They need your attention and support.

Thank you for buying our handicraft. It's not just that we are selling and you are buying them. It's your love and support towards refugees. It means you feel our pain and our problem. It gives us a purpose.

Kalsoom Jaffari (Founder of Refugee Women Support Group Indonesia)