Women Refugees Share Buffalove One Stitch at a Time

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tilo Bestova is from Bhutan. She and around 60 other refugees make up Stitch Buffalo, and on Wednesday, showed teachers from Tapestry Charter School how to make hand-stitched Buffalove hearts.

Once a week, the women gather to create hearts, headbands, cuffs, bags and other items they sell to the community. While the extra money helps their families, there's a deeper meaning behind each piece of work.

"You won't know the people if you sit at home," said Rabi Rai, who's from Nepal. "But, when you come here you know the people from all the different countries."

It gives the women a chance to break boundaries and gain self-worth.

"For the first time ever, some of these women are actually making their own money," said Dawne Hoeg, a textile artist who founded Stitch Buffalo in 2014.

Three years later and busting at the seams, local company Rich Products Corporation has offered to give the non-profit a building on the 1200 block of Niagara Street. It's been in the works for about a year, but there's a snag. The building needs to be rezoned from commercial to cultural and educational.

"It’s with the city commissioner and we are just waiting for him to sign off,” Hoeg said.

Hoeg hopes they get the stamp of approval soon so they can continue their mission, and spread some Buffalove, one stitch at a time.

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