GLEN ELLYN – As a Turkish Muslim living in Russia, Kamila Gaydarova said she saw her share of ethnic strife and persecution.
So she said she appreciates the opportunity to work for Re:new, a nonprofit organization that provides training and employment for refugee women in America. Gaydarova is one of several artisans at Re:new who sew bags and accessories made from recycled textiles.
“I love to sew and it’s close to my house,” she said.
The job is helping Gaydarova, who has three children, provide for her family. She also is taking online classes with the goal of obtaining a degree in business management.
Re:new Development Director Beth Johnson said she hopes the organization can be a steppingstone for the women who work at the store.
“We hope to be a launching pad so they can work independently and successfully,” Johnson said.
Re:new – 250 Pennsylvania Ave. in Glen Ellyn, in a building that formerly housed the Scripture Press bookstore and manufacturing facility – plans to move at the end of October into a building that previously housed the former Flour Barrel Bakery, 483 N. Main St. in downtown Glen Ellyn. The bakery closed in April.
“We want to gain more exposure,” Johnson said. “We don’t get much foot traffic now. We want to be part of the downtown retail community, and hope for greater opportunities and greater exposure.”
The move is expected to cost $50,000, which includes remodeling costs. To date, Re:new has raised half of its goal of $50,000 through all of its fundraising channels – including Crowdrise, online and in-person donations.
“We are excited about our progress and hope to secure the remainder of the funds by the time we move in late October,” Johnson said.
The Crowdrise campaign ends Sept. 30. Donations can be given at www.crowdrise.com/renewprojectismoving.
Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Formento said he sees Re:new’s pending move as a “very exciting opportunity for that organization.”
“Their products are really a work of art that would be welcomed in the downtown area,” Formento said. “This is a step up for them, and a step up for Glen Ellyn.”
Re:new was founded in 2009 and incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2010. Since 2011, more than 120 refugee women have received training or employment at Re:new.
Re:new Executive Director Susan Tripi DeLano said she hopes that the organization can serve as place of healing for the women.
“This is their happy place,” she said. “They can forget about all the loss and separation. This is such a joyful, fun place to work.”
See more online
Visit www.mysuburbanlife.com to watch a video of Re:new Executive Director Susan Tripi DeLano talking about the group’s mission and its move to the former Flour Barrel bakery in downtown Glen Ellyn.
How to help
To make a donation to help Re:new, visit crowdrise.com/renewprojectismoving.