The MAYA Collection is a collection of Nepali refugees in Louisville, KY, who utilize their God given abilities to create unique jewelry, handmade crafts, soaps, and various textile products. MAYA means “love” in the Nepali language. Through this business, the artisans have an opportunity to become financially independent and share their love of created beautiful, wearable art.
A refugee is someone who has had to flee his or her home country because of danger of persecution based on his or her race, religion, or nationality. Typically, a person is in a refugee camp for several years before they are resettled to another country. Louisville has a large refugee population, even though it is a relatively small city. Refugees in America struggle due to a lack of formal education and job experience, as well as the challenge of learning English. Beyond that, they often miss their home country and their families very much. Although there may be other refugees from the same country nearby, many refugees are seeking community and friendship once they arrive in their new location.
MAYA Collection began in 2009 when a few of the current volunteers met refugee women in the south end of Louisville and saw their desire for relationships with Americans. The refugee women expressed an interest in learning about the Bible so a weekly Bible study began. The economy was sluggish so the volunteer team decided to try to make some products to sell. The refugees knew how to knit so the first products sold were knitted scarves, and MAYA Collection began. It is 8 years later and the ministry has touched the lives of over 80 refugee women and children.
MAYA is led by a team of volunteers who share a Bible story, lead small group times, and also assist the ladies with the various craft projects. The goal for MAYA Collection is for refugee women to have the skills to become independent local artisans.
Funded by Louisville, KY (June 2018)