“Producing something with your own hands out of natural leather, this soft but sturdy material, gives you a strong sense of satisfaction. It is very calming,” shares the teacher for leather work in our Disabled Afghan Refugee Project (DARP).
Her students, all caregivers of DARP participants, seem to agree. They have learnt how to do leather work exceptionally well, says the teacher. Many have reached a stage where they are starting to get orders for their products and make an income. Hossna’s* mother, Fateme*, could be one of them.
Hossna (16y) has an intellectual disability. She requires full time care and is very much dependent on her mother. Going out together is a huge stress for Fateme, as Hossna doesn’t want to leave the bus, the park or any of the places they visit. So, they mainly stay in their tiny 2-roomed flat. Fateme has become tired. She has been struggling with depression for years now.
The leather work class has opened a new door for Fateme. Her teacher thinks she can start to take orders as her sewing is very good. However, she still has one last step to take: cutting the leather according to the pattern. Until now she hasn’t had the confidence to do it. Recently her social worker reflected with her on the changes that have taken place since they first met. Hossna’s mother was given a picture of a possible future by the social worker. This is what she suggested:
As Hossna is registered with the State Welfare Organisation she could get a placement in a day-care centre a few days a week where she would be cared for by professionals and could attend different classes. Fateme could cover the cost by selling a few leather wallets a month. Visiting the day-care would give Hossna’s mother more time for herself, her other two children, her family and to increase her leather work production. It would also give them both a change in their daily routines.
Both her teacher and the social worker told Fateme that they believed she can do it. When she said that she would give it a try, the beginnings of hope could be heard in Fateme’s voice.
* name changed