Artisan Bags by Refugee Women | We Made This

Fashioning Change

Artisan Spotlight: Dah Doh Moo

We Made ThisComment
Dah Doh #11.jpg

“Good googley moogley!” is likely the playful response you’ll get if you ask We Made This artisan Dah Doh Moo how her day is going. In her native Karen language, her name means “little person, big sky,” which seems fitting for someone who professes, “I fly in my dreams,” and has faced life with incredible faith and determination. Her cheerful, bubbly demeanor belies a turbulent past, however, and serves as a testament to the power of the human spirit.

She arrived in the US from Burma in 2000, fleeing decades-old civil conflict due to the ethnic persecution of Karen nationalists like herself at the hands of the Burmese government. Although she proudly served as a medic and a commander in the Karen army, even fighting on the front lines of battle, she dreamed of a more stable, peaceful life. Soon after meeting the man who would become her husband, she decided to flee the country in pursuit of this dream, and was eventually resettled in Denver, CO, the place she has called home ever since.

After adopting various roles in the Denver community, ranging from school custodian to refugee mentor for the Asian Pacific Development Center, she was eventually introduced to the African Community Center, where she volunteered her services as a Karen translator. She enrolled in sewing classes with We Made This, soon earning the distinction of an artisan and briefly serving as an assistant teacher, and continues to craft handmade goods for our local markets. She enjoys the relationships she has built as a member of the WMT family and uses her sewing skills to make beautiful items for her own family and friends.

Dah Doh admits that the most challenging thing about living in Denver is missing home, particularly life on the “little river” where she enjoyed fishing for crabs and shrimp. She has adapted to city life particularly well, however, even achieving goals of home ownership, through partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and entrepreneurship, as proprietor of a local Asian market. Today she devotes most of her time to caring for her family, but still makes time for creative pursuits. Her dreams have indeed carried her to unimagined heights, and We Made This is fortunate to have been a part of her story!

Have you bought an item made by one of our artisans and want to thank her? Click on the blog title to open the comment section and show your gratitude!


Artisan Spotlight: Daralneima

We Made ThisComment
Artisan Profile: Daralnemia

Daralneima is a We Made This artisan who has just celebrated her five-year anniversary of arriving the United States from her home country, Sudan. When she arrived with her eight children, she spoke three languages—her mother tongue, Masalit, as well as Arabic and Kiswahili—but no English. She is a tremendously motivated woman, however, and within just a few years she had attained English fluency. While attending the We Made This sewing training program, she began to use her language skills to interpret for other newly-arrived refugees from all over East Africa and the Middle East. She encouraged other students to make the most of the sewing program, as she did, by practicing their English, making friends with participants of other cultures, and engaging in the art therapy and shared meals that are components of the class. She graduated first the beginner level, and then the intermediate, going on to become a We Made This artisan who sewed the product line we sell to provide graduates with a supplementary income. She wanted to do more to help her family as she put her children through school, so she continued to work as a translator as well as pursuing full-time employment. This summer she attended a training hosted by one of our sewing employment partners, Wunderkin. They instructed the class on the very meticulous production of hand-sewn hair bows, and Daralneima’s craftsmanship stood out to the instructors so much so that they offered her a paid apprenticeship. She has since completed her training and sews the Wunderkin line full-time, earning a high hourly wage, and using her many talents to help orient other new refugee employees. She is truly an exemplary We Made This participant!