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Denver group works to empower Afghan refugees

On Saturday, Nov. 19, the groups will be selling fabrics made by refugees at the Celebration Community Church in Denver from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

DENVER — As Zarghon Hamzolay sat in his living room in Denver, he couldn't help but feel a sense of pride for the fabrics he held. 

“These are the bags ...one of my sisters in law - she made it," he said with a smile. “Yeah I’m proud because she’s doing hard work."

Hamzolay brought his family to the United States from Afghanistan in early 2020. Over the last year, more of his family members were able to make it over as well. 

Hamzolay was a mechanic for the U.S. military for years while in Afghanistan.

“Yeah I feel safe here especially for life, for my kids education," he said. 

A local group, the Afghan Women's Collective of Denver has been helping his family, specifically Afghan women, by providing resources to sew fabrics and sell them. 

Hamzolay says it's helped his family. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
Zarghon Hamzolay sits in his Denver living room.

“I wanted to present an opportunity to them to do something on their own, to make their own money, to be proud of something they created…which they really are," said the groups's creative director, Beth Finesilver.

She said the group has been heping at least four Afghan women refine their sewing and crochet skills to produce all sorts of fabrics - everything from towels to pet accessories and more.

“And after a few months we were on our way," she recalled. 

After at least two sales, one in summer and fall, they nearly sold all of the inventory, she said. 

On Saturday, Nov. 19, they'll host another sale, this time at Celebration Community Church in Denver.

Credit: Luis de Leon
Beth Finesilver is creative director of the Afghan Women's Collective of Denver.

 “Number one I’m so fond of them, I see them all as family now but their resilience, their ability to get things done, their love of their family, their love of their children, their sense of humor," Finesilver said of the Afghan women. “Our ability to communicate with each other and we don’t speak the same language …but we know exactly what we mean to each other and what we’re trying to say."

Both Finesilver and Hamzolay believe it's helped empower them. 

“This is a way…people will see and to start supporting them," he said. 

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