Hope Workshop is one of our most popular programs. It gives refugee women the chance to learn skills, support their families, and meet other women in a safe environment. The women in Hope Workshop make crafts, which they sell in local markets or through special orders abroad. A few times a year, they collaborate on embroidered quilts and calendars, which our partner, the Advocacy Project, sells in the U.S.
Recently, however, we’ve run into a problem: a long waitlist due to lack of space. Hope Workshop currently meets for four hours twice a week in one of CRP’s multipurpose classrooms. But as the program has grown, that space turned into a limiting factor. Lilly, CRP’s Director of Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning, explains the problem: “A lot of the women who are interested in participating can’t necessarily, because we don’t have time to teach them how to sew, and we don’t have the space either to teach them how to sew, or whatever the specific skills are for the project.” Without any room to grow in the main center, we knew we needed a new place to expand. That’s why CRP created its new Women’s Space.
We knew that this new expansion was important, but we weren’t sure how we were going to pay for it. So during our Spring fundraising drive, we designated a few days to raise money specifically for this cause. And you came through for us!
The new Women’s Space is right next to our Community Center. The space contains multiple rooms, all of which we plan to use for our women’s programming. Renovations are currently underway, and it will be ready for use in September. We’re excited to expand our womens’ programming. “This will allow a lot more women be able to participate,” describes Lilly. “It will also give to more opportunities to train the women in the skills they need.” With the new Women’s Space, Hope Workshop will be able to meet far more often, include more women, and better serve female refugees in our community of Hashemi Shamali.
Though our new Women’s Space centers on Hope Workshop, we’re excited to bring other women’s programming to the space. Jordan is a conservative society, and women often feel less comfortable in a mixed-gender setting. During some of our women-only activities, including yoga and Zumba, Muslim women can remove their hijab. Many women, though, still feel uncomfortable, since a man could walk in accidentally. By setting aside a particular area for women, we make sure that all women feel comfortable and welcome at CRP.
Lilly describes our vision for the new center: “There’s a big room that will be used as the main workshop space, so that will have the tables, the sewing machines, all those kind of things set up in there. Then there are two smaller rooms. One room we be used as a sort of a showroom/storage space, and the other room will be a multipurpose classroom, similar to a lot of the spaces in the rest of the center. There’s also a kitchen. We want to be able to have a productive kitchen, so that women can learn how to cook and develop useful skills.”
When we first leased the space it badly needed an upgrade, but now it’s almost ready to open. “We’re really just giving everything a nice fresh coat of paint, upgrading the lights, the electrical system,” says Lilly. “We’re going to put AC and heating units in there like we have in the rest of the center, and we’re going to furnish it. There’s also a really nice garden/patio space that we’re going to freshen up a bit.” By next week, we plan to open the Women’s Space for activities.
With the Women’s Space complete, CRP can finally expand its women’s programming and better serve refugee women in our community. A special thanks to everyone who gave during our Spring Campaign. Your donations made this new space possible, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you!