Celebrate @ E2Expo

Refugee designers weave fabric magic

Updated : November 2020


  • Entrepreneurs
  • NGOs
  • Textile industry sustainability professionals

Building a new life to refugee people through textile manufacturing

RefuSHE specializes in identifying and protecting unaccompanied and separated refugee children and youth, especially girls, young women and their children living in Nairobi, Kenya. Their shelter, education, and community outreach services, coupled with local resources and the refugee community, empower this population to live healthy lives. By providing resources for long-term support, these girls and young women become catalysts for strengthening networks creating sustainable change within the local and global communities.

Read More: RefuSHE's Story


Social enterpise in textile manufacturing through refugee members

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  1. RefuSHE's Story




| Kenya | United States

Year Established



RefuSHE's social enterprise is a step in the journey toward independence and a new life after war and conflict. Members express themselves creatively while learning tangible skills that lead to self-sufficiency. Their trauma-informed approach allows artisans to achieve economic and social independence. Participants continue their healing within RefuSHE’s supportive environment while learning business skills. 70% of the 160 artisans who have been a part of the collective are economically independent.

Highlights and sustainability benefits

RefuSHE is redefining models of refugee protection through its one-of-a-kind holistic model. This models houses several programs such as Girl's Empowerment Project, The Safe House, Case Management, Community Outreach, Economic Independence, Advocacy and Research for its members. 
Its Safe House program is the first of its kind in Kenya, serving as a transitional shelter that provides protection and recovery to unaccompanied and separated refugee girls under 18 years old and their children.

About the Work

For young refugee women, their artisan collective is a significant step in the journey toward self-confidence, independence, and a new life after war and conflict. Young women gain production and manufacturing knowledge that serves as a foundation to their future success as entrepreneurs. Their collaborative arts-based and business curriculum offers opportunities for creative problem solving through experimentation of design and shared learning. In the social enterprise participants design, create, and manage a line of unique, hand-dyed fabrics, and other textiles. By saving their earnings, members of the Collective can pay their rent, feed their families, cover household expenses, and eventually launch their own successful businesses.


This “Project Runway”-inspired event features nine Chicago fashion designers competing to create a unique look incorporating fabric made by RefuSHE artisans. Angelina Jolie, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy, visited one of the runway projects which featured the accessories made by RefuSHE members at the refugee shelter in Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2008, RefuSHE has provided a lifeline of hope through direct services to over 3,330 young refugee women, girls, and their children in East Africa.

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