The Afghan Women’s Collaborative
The Afghan Women’s Collaborative is a light-filled 1700 sq ft community space on St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe. It is a social hub and economic engine for vulnerable Afghan families at risk of poverty given the high cost of living in the city. Our intention is to develop a pilot project for Afghan refugees in Santa Fe which can be expanded to the Afghan diaspora in New Mexico and across the nation. The community center houses income-generating programs employing up to 10 Afghan women refugees in a sewing collaborative, a catering business, and a food product line. Leveraging their experience in cooking and sewing, these women become familiar with navigating Western culture, learning to speak English, training to become skilled in small-scale manufacturing and high-quality Afghan & Middle Eastern food production, managing their own finances, and becoming self-sufficient in supporting their families. The center itself consists of a large open space, a nursery room, a warming kitchen, a communal dining area, two bathrooms, and a sewing studio up on a mezzanine overlooking the open space. Here Afghan women can obtain the psychosocial support, training, and resources they need to generate cooperative business initiatives that strengthen the social fabric, showcasing the array of talent and experiences our Afghan members can add to the diverse and dynamic mosaic of Santa Fe while promoting in the wider community an understanding and appreciation of Afghan food and culture.
Year(s) Awarded: 2022, 2023