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Bosnian Refugees Take Part In A Chicago Knitting Group To Forget About The War
CEW stands for Creative Empowered Women and it is a group oriented towards helping refugees through craft therapy.
The knitting and crocheting group meets at the Hamdard Center, which is focused on helping refugees and immigrants living on the Far North Side.
Savneet Talwar and Sophie Canadé run the group and the therapy program that comes along with it. While the group is mainly formed of Bosnian women, lately there were others who joined the group.
A woman from Korea and a few members from Pakistan are among those who have joined lately.
The therapy they undergo is pretty straightforward. It is known that knitting and crocheting can help a lot with anxiety and other emotional and mental issues.
As survivors of a war that killed thousands of people and displaced millions, these women need more than just a simple distraction.
“We come every week and we are so happy. For the two to three hours we are here, we are so happy,” says Bijdic, one of the regular attendees of the group’s activities.
The women taking part in the group sell their creations and they keep 70% of the money, the rest being spent on yarn. They managed to gather $6,400 in 2015, but, of course, what they do is not about financial gain.
Their knitted works are very popular, but they never knit the same piece again.
“These women are artists. They don’t want to make the same paintings five times in a row,” says Sophie Canadé, who is in charge of the group.
The refugees often prefer not talking about the past. Nonetheless, each one has a dramatic story to tell.
“I lost my entire family during to the war. My son was caught in the concentration camps,” remembers Puskar, another Bosnian refugee now living in Chicago.
They prefer remembering now how they met and how much the group helped them regain their happiness.
Watch this video clip and see the members of this special Chicago knitting group in action!