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Stitch With SACSS Graduation Ceremony
It was a wonderful day on Wednesday, September 9th as SACSS hosted its first graduation ceremony for 10 participants in the ‘Stitch With SACSS’ Program that teaches immigrant women the skill of sewing while gaining financial independence.
SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya was joined by City Councilmember Sandra Ung and Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Community Liaison Kyle Salcido to present certificates to each woman in recognition of their accomplishment. Upon completion of the program, SACSS gifted each student a sewing machine in support of starting their own home-based sewing business.
The students’ colorful garments – shirts, blouses, pants, handbags, aprons and baby clothes – were displayed in the SACSS Senior Center, where everyone gathered for the ceremony.
In her remarks, Ung congratulated the class and thanked SACSS for establishing a program that gives women economic empowerment and the confidence to start their own small business.
“Meeting all of you and seeing how you’re going to open your own business, I am really inspired by that, and I want to wish everyone the best of luck,” Ung said.
Students Parvin Akter and Nagina Rehimi thanked SACSS for supporting them.
“Learning how to sew scared me so bad, but now I feel so confident,” said Parvin Akter. “I understand the fabrics, the difference between threads, and learned how to work a sewing machine. I’m so happy and will start my own business.”
“I’m very happy and very fortunate that I got to participate in Stitch With SACSS, make loving friends and learn from the kindest teachers, Manjulaben and Rema. I’m also excited to start my new business,” said Nagina Rehimi.
Launched in July 2023, the SACSS Women’s Economic Independence Program, Stitch With SACSS, is a four-day 10-week program teaching immigrant women, including those from South Asian and AAPI communities, the necessary skills of sewing, pattern making, fabric cutting, garment construction, and alterations.
The program is coordinated by Rema Venu and is taught by Manjulaben Darji, who said:
“They started with cotton and doing simple stitches, such as how to make a straight line and thread a needle in the sewing machine. They made drawstring bags, a handbag, aprons, and learned how to sew on a pocket, and the culmination of it was to stitch a blouse with lining — that was the finale. It was a long journey and there were several layers to it,” Venu said. “I’m very proud of them. This is our first program and we had to see how to teach effectively, and how all of the students were doing so we don’t leave anyone behind.”
While this is her first time teaching a class, Darji said she is looking forward to welcoming the next ‘Stitch With SACSS’ cohort of students beginning Monday, Oct. 2.