Sila came to Buffalo in 2012 with her parents, husband and baby boy. The cultural and language barriers are a challenge, particularly for her parents who can’t speak English and have to navigate immigration and welfare offices.

Sila joined Stitch in 2017. Here she met friends, learned to sew and found a way to make money. She smiles shyly when she talks about her progress. “At first it was too hard,” she said, of the tiny, elaborate stitches she makes to decorate felt hearts. “I used to take three or four days to make one. Now it takes an hour and a half.”

She brings in dozens of items every week. The money is helping make her life easier and selling her work gives her a sense of accomplishment. She proudly signs her name on each piece she crafts.   

Dawne HoegSila