The Amani Story
In 2005, while working as a public health professional in the Clarkston community,
Doris Mukangu saw a major need among the underserved African Women Refugees and
decided to do something about it. She started with health education, helping refugees
navigate the daunting health system and gradually adding other services and programs such as the Amani Sewing Academy - In understanding how to work with hard to reach populations within this group, Doris used the right tools to empower refugee women in skills and languages they understand and in a manner they could relate to culturally.
Refugees arrive in their environment very optimistic about endless possibilities in their new home. Many receive social services for only 3 months, after which, they are on their own. Hence, the relevance of grassroot organizations like Amani Women Center that plays a major role in helping refugees survive and thrive.
In 2006, together with the help of a core team that believed in her vision, AWC became an official 501-C3 non-profit organization based in Clarkston Georgia. (The city with the most diverse square mile of refugees in America.) Since then, Amani Women Center (AWC) has impacted the lives of hundreds of refugee families in Clarkston and in parts of Africa.
Amani Women Center (AWC) educates and empowers both refugee and immigrant African communities in Clarkson, Atlanta metro areas including AWC's global initiative; which mirrors our mission and programs in local communities in different parts of Africa. Amani's global initiative includes artisans and partners in West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and South Africa.
WHAT WE DO
• Life Skills and General Wellbeing:
We are “Stitching Lives Together” through our wrap around services – workforce development, health navigation, D.V. & S.A., financial and digital literacy, social services, civic engagement, youth and women leaderdship programs - all through education, training and workshops. etc. We believe in a holistic approach to ensure that refugee women and youth have improved well-being and are able to be productive members of their families and the community.
Our 12-month sewing program provides a safe space with sewing machines, industrial machines, instructors, counselors and a fabric room. Students get a sewing kit and all accessories. The program prepares and empowers individuals to learn to sew for themselves, their families, start their own home business, join the workforce — garment/apparel industry, do contractual piece work, or Join our team of sewers at Amani's social enterprise (Johari Africa). ASA graduates are gifted with a brand new sewing machine upon completion of the program. This creates a foundamental path to self-sufficiency. For the women that are seeking entry level positions with the garment factory, Amani Women Center (AWC) has partnerships with businesses to provide employment. AWC is intentional in sourcing businesses that pay livable wages for the refugee women.
AWC has identified financial issues as a major trigger for DV in the African refugee community. Financial empowerment is both a preventive tool and empowerment tool for refugee women who come through our program. Empowering a woman financially gives a woman a voice in her home as well as gives her the confidence to participate in making decsions for herself and for her family. DV vicitims who are financially empowered are able to make decisions from a postion of power versus from a position of vulnerability. AWC provides financial literacy through workshops and counseling to refugee women in languages that they can understand.
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AWC works with various partners and individuals to build sustainable, healthy and productive communities. Empowering people out of poverty and delivering change through the Sewing Program and assisted services like health, financial literacy, and employment. AWC aims at bringing dignity to the women and not destitution.