As a blogger, it is my hobby to tell stories. I tell stories about my life as a mother and my experiences raising my adorable little wild child. There is a lot of truth in my stories and it’s so nice to see when these resonate with others on a similar path.
As a communications professional too, I like to think that it is my job to tell stories. Over the years I’ve told many ‘stories’ to help raise awareness of the clients – brands and organisations – that I have been lucky enough to work with.
However, having hit a bit of a crossroads with both recently, I realised that I wanted to do something that contributes to helping others…
It was around this time that I discovered a lovely Facebook page entitled Rags To Riches Dubai. If you haven’t heard of it, Rags To Riches is a volunteer initiative run by British expat, Barbara Evans, who cleverly upcycles old and scrap materials to create wonderful items of clothing for children in need. Simply brilliant! I kept up to date with the page for a while, and the more I learnt about what Barbara is doing, the more I wanted to get involved and help.
One of Barbara’s beautiful designs
Now ideally I would love to have buckled down to create some of the gorgeous outfits myself, but coming to the conclusion that I really really cannot sew, I got wondering what else I could do… I guess that is when it occurred to me that I could use my passion for storytelling – both professionally and via the blog – to try and help raise more awareness of Barbara’s incredible initiative.
It took me a little while to get up the nerve to reach out to her (to be honest, I was a bit worried about my time as a full-time working Mummy of a busy toddler, and also about my effectiveness in the whole thing), but when I did finally reach out, she was very happy (I think!)
We struck up a conversation via the power of Facebook, and Barbara explained to me that she and a group of volunteers were soon to be travelling to the Turkish-Syrian border in partnership with CanaTurk Academic & Research Development to host sewing classes for refugee women. Entitled Sew For Syria, the idea of the initiative was to spend time with a group of refugee ladies (three days to be precise), and teach them how to sew some of Barbara’s lovely designs so that they might be able utilize fabrics available around them to help clothe their children, and ultimately sell garments should the opportunity arise.
Now that’s an amazing story!
But the sad thing is that the story for these refugee woman is very very real. The plight of these people is truly devastating. You hear it on the news, you read it in the papers, but as individuals it is easy to feel like there is little we can do to help. However, the one thing that Barbara and the team recognised is that as a community, we can make a difference, even if this difference is small – the ways and the means just needs to be shared.
To help raise awareness of the incredible efforts of Barbara and her team, I reached out to a few media friends to coordinate interviews to be featured in some of the UAE’s most widely read publications. The intention behind this is for people – the UAE community – over the coming days, weeks and months, to read about the group’s experience, learn more about Barb’s Rags To Riches initiative, and ultimately – if they wish – get involved too!
As such, this post is also what I intend to be the first of a series of features on my blog 🙂 I will also be sharing some of the group’s media features over on The Son And The Moon Facebook page when published, so do hop over and take a look.
But what about you, reading this now – would you be interested in getting involved? Here are a few ways how…
Barbara and her team of volunteers are always looking for people who are good with a needle and thread! If you fancy having a go at upcycling some materials yourself, Barbara would be absolutely delighted to have you onboard!
However, if you’re a bit like me (aka rubbish at sewing / more likely to sew your fingers together than a nice blouse), you can still contribute by donating material. And by this, I mean any type of material – bed sheets, towels, curtains – anything! Barb will even make fleecy hoodies from the blankets handed out on Emirates Flights! If you hop over to the Rags To Riches Facebook page, there is a list of collection points there (and detailed below). You can also message me to set up a drop too.
Then finally, if you’re all out of clothes and materials from previous donations, clear-outs, etc, then don’t worry, one very small but very powerful thing you can do is to simply ‘like’ and ‘share’ the Rags To Riches / Sew For Syria Facebook pages, and also if you wish, share this post. The power of social media to spread awareness should never be underestimated – you are the small but powerful key!
Rags To Riches Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RagsToRichesDubai
Sew For Syria Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sewforsyria
The Son And The Moon Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thesonandthemoon
Olivia, Silicon Oasis, Semmer Villa’s, A block, 127
Emma, Calida st 2, Victory Heights
Leanne, villa 34/3 st 22b Jumeriah 1
Sarah Villa 106, Al Shaari st, Jumeiah 3
Tina, Fox Hill 9, apt 303, Motor City
Sheren, Jameriah Park, district 8, villa N.21
Newal, 407 Dubai Arch Tower, Cluster G, JLT
Enas, Jumeirah Golf Est, Whispering Pines, Villa 36
Yasmine, Knowledge Village, Block3,Office G 14
The Gardens,building 124,apt4
Jodie, villa 98, st 1,Springs 10
Sara, Umm Suqeim 1, Billqetair Street Villa 40 (Close to Burger Fuel and Saga World on Beach Rd)
Injy, villa 560, ( behind the cellar in Hamra village) RAK
GMy address is AlZahia villa 5 University city road Sharjah
Some Photos From The Trip
Tote bags which the refugee ladies learnt to create
From the fashion show put on at the end of the trip – gorgeous top and headscarf for babies
The amazing team!
Left to right: Theresa Tsui, Marcia Hillard-Irving, Joanne Griffiden, Dr Amro Taleb, Carla Bygrave, Maria Iqbal, Barbara Evans