19 Feb 2019
Tel Aviv, Israel
Sustainable Textiles & Clothing

Tel Aviv is regarded as one of the world’s most international cities, with plenty of businesses and initiatives playing as a major backdrop giving the city a metropolitan feel. One initiative is setting itself differently from others through employing African refugee women’s skills.

Kuchinate, which means crochet in Tigrinya, is an initiative founded and run by South African native, Dr. Diddy Mymin Kahn, a clinical psychologist who has long worked in the humanitarian field. She says of Kuchinate: “It is part of my heart and soul. I co-founded Kuchinate in 2011. As a psychologist, I have had many years of experience working with people living outside of Israel who have suffered through severe trauma. I myself have wandered from place to place and have felt, to an extent, the agonizing loneliness of being a foreigner in a strange land. Thankfully, I did not need to flee death and persecution.”

Having worked with East African asylum seekers who have been through horrors crossing the Sinai peninsula, Kahn learned that western rehabilitation methods are not enough. This is when she resorted to establishing Kuchinate to help empower these women socially, psychologically and economically.

As part of the initiative, Kuchinate’s women create crocheted products such as baskets, poufs and rugs. They also teach the craft as well as host meals, and traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean coffee ceremonies, according to the website.

The project is also part of the A.R.T.S. organization (African Refugee Therapeutic Services). It helps over 90 people, and one of these women’s testimonials reads, “ In Israel, it is very difficult; I have no work and I have to pay for food and rent. My dream is that my child will feel good. If God gives health to my child, that is enough for me. I love Kuchinate because at home I worry all the time and think about what will happen to us, what will happen to our child, and how we are going to have enough food and money. Here at Kuchinate, I see other mothers with children; I look at them and see that they all have problems too. Everyone who comes to Kuchinate suffers, so here I am not alone.”

People can help the initiative through purchasing products and signing up for events with such diverse and strong women.

 

Learn more about Kuchinate through their website or their Facebook page.

Kuchinate Sustainable textiles & clothing
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