Memory and Art: Hope Workshop Members Document Past Experience through Embroidery

Today the Hope Workshop met to share designs and discuss next steps for their advocacy quilting project!

The advocacy quilts will be produced in collaboration with The Advocacy Project, and aim to share the personal experiences of refugee women in Jordan and help the women generate income.


Rabab and Nasreen were the first ones to arrive at the meeting and jumped right into conversation about their designs. Rabab, from Iraq, drew a picture of her two children, walking away from a stack of books. “In Iraq, my children went to school,” she said. “Here, they do not.” Nasreen shared the story behind her picture, which depicts militiamen entering a parking lot. The parking lot, she explained, was her family’s used car business. The militiamen seized all the cars before she and her family fled to Jordan.


Jenan explained each and every detail of her drawing to the group. The design shows Iraq, pieces breaking apart, parts stitched together, trees shedding tears, rockets and bombs coming from all sides. Alongside this design, her simpler image of the person sitting in the chair, speaks volumes. “It’s me,” she relayed. “Thinking about the education and opportunity I had to leave behind when I came here.”


Manal did not have to elaborate on her image. The picture of three dark men surrounding a woman demonstrates the pain and violence that often accompanies conflict.

These stories, and many more, will be transformed into embroidered squares over the coming weeks. Arguably the sharing, the exchanging of ideas, and the creativity being explored as these drawings transform into art is the most valuable part of this process, as the women of the Hope Workshop find community and solidarity while working together on this project.

The Hope Workshop is a women’s craft collective and one of CRP’s longest running programs. The women in the workshop come from Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria, and work together to create handicrafts and art for exhibition and for sale.