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Made by mothers, for mothers 

Women make up over 85% of MADE51 artisans. Most of them are mothers. For them, artisan work offers them a dignified livelihood with the flexibility they need to care for their children. In a refugee setting, this is one of the most powerful opportunities a mother can have to build brighter futures for her children. Meet some of the incredible mothers who make MADE51 products.

Maleka, mother of one in India 

Maleka and her daughter. Photo Credit: SilaiWali

[Maleka and her daughter. Photo Credit: SilaiWali]

Maleka and her daughter, Shabnam, are artisans with SilaiWali, a MADE51 partner in New Delhi, India. Both are refugees from Afghanistan, as are their fellow artisans at SilaiWali. Maleka, her husband and their children fled Afghanistan five years ago in search of a safe haven in India. Though safer, life was not easy.

When SilaiWali was started in 2019, Maleka was one of their first artisans. Her skilful stitching and embroidery meant she had an opportunity for her to support her family. Soon her daughter, Shabnam, joined Silaiwali too. Shabnam started by checking product quality and packing orders, and today is also responsible for raw material sourcing.

The mother-daughter duo is famous for their infectious high-pitched laughter, which enlivens the workshop and lifts the spirits of those around them.

Maw Soe Meh, mother of five in Thailand

Maw Soe Meh, mother of five in Thailand

[Maw Soe Meh celebrating her sons graduation. Photo credit: WEAVE]

In 1996, Maw Soe Meh and her husband risked their lives crossing mined fields on the Thai-Myanmar border in order to seek refuge in Thailand. Though they had just been married and wanted to have a big family, continued attacks on their village made it clear they wouldn’t be able to do this in Myanmar.

Maw Soe Meh and her husband found safety in a refugee camp in Thailand and were able to have the big family they hoped for. Maw Soe Meh has given birth to 5 children since she arrived and, according to her, “to be a mother raising all my children in the refugee camp was a big challenge and extremely difficult!”.

Twenty five years later, she is still in the camp, watching her children grow and thrive.

"Looking back at the 25 years, I realized that despite the poverty and marginalization, I remain standing and committed to give my children a better life because of their love and care. They are growing up respectful and responsible and I know that they will take good care of us when our strength will no longer allow us to work.”

Maw Soe Meh says she attributes her ability to be a good mother to her ability to work with her hands, earning an income by creating products for WEAVE, a MADE51 social enterprise partner.

Solange, mother of one in Kenya

[Maw Soe Meh weaving. Photo credit: Arthit Wngnithisathapor]

“Weaving has become my outlet when I am faced with too many difficulties, when I feel like giving up… Working with WEAVE is not only giving me safe and fair income, they also demonstrate what it means to be part of a family, to feel protected and secured in times of need. I did not get the chance to go to school but WEAVE believed in me, in my skills and provided me great opportunities… My family and community see me not just a mere refugee woman but a strong pillar of my family, a woman leader and productive member of our community”

Maw Soe Meh’s second son just graduated from college in the refugee camp and is determined to help his mother with work and support his younger brothers with their education.

Solange, mother of one in Kenya

[Solange, RefuSHE artisan in Kenya. Photo credit: Bobby Neptune / RefusSHE ]

Solange is originally from Burundi. In 2015, just a few days before the national election, there was an attack in her hometown. The next night her house was invaded and her parents and two brothers were killed. Thankfully, Solange was enrolled in boarding school at that time and was safe from the attack. Hearing the news, her godfather arranged travel for Solange to Kenya. When she arrived, she found herself in precarious living situations until she found UNHCR who referred to a safe house run by RefuSHE.

RefuSHE is a MADE51 social enterprise partner based in Nairobi and, in addition to offering refugee women and girls a place to live, the organization supports training and work opportunities, including in the artisan sector. Solange says that RefuSHE saved her life and, now that she is in a healthy place physically and mentally, she just wants to be a good mother to her son.

After six years as a refugee, Solange is finally in the process of resettlement. As her case moves forward, she is able to support herself and her young son, Caleb, working as a skilled tailor.

Solange is passionate about studying English -- she is now fully fluent. Her young son, just two years old, enjoys music and singing. Solange dreams of one day becoming a professional nurse.

**Donation from “MADE51” will be used to support UNHCR’s works to protect people forced to flee, find solutions to resolve refugee issues and ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum.​



The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.