Neighbors for Refugees nonprofit launches mask-making program to help vulnerable populations
A Larchmont-based nonprofit is helping refugee women earn a living while helping those in need.
Shameela Azizi is a refugee from Afghanistan who partakes in Neighbors for Refugee’s mask-making program.
"It's an occupation that I enjoy. It keeps me busy," Azizi told News 12 through a translator.
The Afghanistan woman is one of six women sewing masks that are distributed to schools, prisons and nursing homes.
"I take pleasure in knowing that my products are helping others," says Azizi.
The talented seamstress arrived with her family in the U.S. in 2018 and was embraced by organizations such as Neighbors for Refugees.
The nonprofit assists families like Azizi’s by helping them resettle.
"My husband worked with the international community, and we were being targeted by the Taliban,” says Azizi.
According to Neighbors for Refugees representative Holly Rosen Fink, the mask-making program seamstresses are paid through donations.
"We are able to help these women help their families, we love the fact they will say they are saving lives," says Fink.
The organization is preparing to help more refugee families build new lives in the states as President Joe Biden proposes to raise the cap on those admitted into the country. The current cap is at 15,000, but the Biden administration plans to raise it to more than 62,000.
"We are completely ready to resettle, we are anxious to get new families and support them," says Fink.
More than 500 masks made in the latest batch are going to Poughkeepsie to an organization called PPE 4 All. News 12 is told PPE 4 All will distribute the masks to vulnerable populations across the country.