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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Business is growing for Somali refugee women’s project supported by SDOP

Ohio-based group sees brighter future

January 7, 2017

Business is looking good for a group of Somali refugee women seeking to support their families in Columbus, Ohio. The group is part of the Capital Park Women’s Empowerment Project, which gives low-income women the opportunity to forge their own paths and market their businesses.

“The Sewing Cooperative at Capital Park is moving forward into new territory,” said Beth Stock, the group’s director. “We’ve created some new products and recently took them to a three-day festival in downtown Columbus.”

The Sewing Cooperative has been supported by organizations including the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP). Last year, SDOP provided a $10,000 grant to help the group grow its business.

Participants are being trained to become master seamstresses, with the ability to design, produce and sell designer bags, make clothing repairs and participate in the marketing of these products,” said Rebecca Reyes, SDOP National Committee chair. “The project is allowing the group to build economic independence.”

Because of their limited English-language skills, group members have only been able to secure low-paying jobs. The grant and other financial support are helping the cooperative “forge its own path.”

“The Community Festival in Columbus was the perfect venue to sell our bags and other items,” said Stock. “We sold 17 shoulder bags, 25 zipper/cell phone purses and 15 baby items. We were able to look at the costs involved in doing this business, such as material costs, sales tax, and booth fees. We are definitely learning more about what it takes to run a business.”

Over the last 46 years, SDOP has supported nearly 6,000 community projects in 67 countries. Working with a national committee as well as 25 presbytery and three synod committees, SDOP works with communities struggling with economic and social justice issues, helping them become self-sustainable. Since its inception, SDOP has awarded more than $100 million in grants.

Rick Jones, mission communications strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP)

Let us join in prayer for:

Synod of the Covenant Staff

David Bartley, synod clerk/treasurer
Melanie Shoop, synod office manager
Raafat Zaki, synod executive

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rita Ostwalt-Whitfield, PMA                                                       
Asha Ouseph, PMA    

Let us pray

Gracious God, we plant and water the seeds, but you alone give the growth to our mission and outreach projects. Keep us faithful in our work in your vineyard. May our labors bear fruit as we help others discover and develop their God-given gifts. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings 

Morning Psalms 46 or 97; 149
First Reading Isaiah 52:3-6
Second Reading Revelation 2:1-7
Gospel Reading John 2:1-11
Evening Psalms 27; 93 or 114