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Fort Worth Company’s Sales Help Refugees

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - There is a small company in Fort Worth that is having a big impact in the lives of women. Each time that a product is sold, the proceeds help the same person who created that item.

The company operates out of a small work room, home to a new fashion collection. But what is really unique is that the space belongs to Catholic Charities Fort Worth and a business called WORN For Peace. Do not let the crochet and knit fool you — what is a hobby for some is a life-saving skill for others.

“What’s very special about the business is actually the women,” said Marianne Woerner, the company’s general manager. “The women have been resettled here and they actually hand-knit every piece of product that is sold here for WORN For Peace.”

The creators of these hand-knit items are mostly from Burma or Nepal.

This all started in 2011 when a Catholic Charities Fort Worth worker with the Refugee Services program learned about several women with a serious talent for knitting and crocheting.

When an item is sold, 20 percent of the money goes to Catholic Charities Fort Worth, to help pay for English and finance classes. That remaining 80 percent becomes a paycheck for the women of WORN For Peace. Each product has the creator’s initials on it, letting you know who made the item.

“For example, buying one item in our Wee WORN line, which is our baby line, is the equivalent of a month’s worth of toiletries for the women,” said Woerner.

Get More Information About WORN For Peace

Moodah Htoo is one of the 30 workers. Her family escaped from war-torn Burma after an army burned down their village. “I was born in a refugee camp, and I was in a refugee camp for a long time,” she said. In fact, it was 20 years of her life that Htoo was at that camp. Now, on a typical day in Fort Worth, the littlest things can mean a lot. “Every day, the food are the same. And over here, it’s different.”

The University of Texas-Arlington did a study with this group of women and found that depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder can all be relieved with just the simple act of knitting, and making these beautiful creations. Of course, being able to pay rent and drive a car are also accomplishments that the business creates for its workers.

“I love to crochet, and it really helped,” said Htoo. “Now, I can stay home and I even have a baby, because I can stay home and crochet at home.”

“It’s make me proud, and I’m really happy about it,” Htoo added. “I really love doing new things, and happy to do it.”

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