/ From invisibility to economic independence

NJØRD"SewForLife"EMPOWERMENT is a pioneering project for the social and economic inclusion of undocumented women in Brussels. The concept is simple, sustainable and practical: the creation of a school and circular economy-based sewing atelier where undocumented women get specialized training in professional sewing and business skills, and where Brussels fashion students can buy their services locally.


Because inclusion is a relationship where everyone wins!

Among the 36% of women who registered for asylum in Brussels in 2019, 6% were single women. They are less visible than male asylum-seekers, and often more vulnerable and isolated, because they struggle to find their way to social assistance.

The goal of NJØRD"SewForLife"EMPOWERMENT is to reach these women, and help them access the social and professional life of the city. It will be the first organization in Brussels to provide specialized training and/ or employment for undocumented women.


SewForLife's school will build on Ftouma's experience in the Belgian fashion industry and her humanitarian work in refugee camps, where she noticed that many women have basic sewing skills, but no technical background in sewing or design.

The purpose of the workshops is therefore to build on existing sewing skills that women already have, and focus on the techniques and design skills they need as professional seamstresses. 

Sewing is also easy to do and share, it does not require a lot of material, its techniques are accessible and can be learned without having to speaking a certain language in advance. 

Ultimately, the school will also offers language training, and courses in micro-business management, building an online store, and gives access to other types of creative training such as graphic design.


SewForLife's atelier is located at Lab North in the heart of Brussels. The atelier will be open for students of the fashion design school in Brussels who need the services of professional seamstresses to realise their graduation collection. 

It will be a win-win relationship: students will have access to affordable, local and professional support, and the women of SewForLife will have quality employment and build a network in the Brussels fashion world. 

The atelier will work according to circular economic principles and only work with reused materials. 


SewForLife already started with sewing classes in 2018 and 2019. But in order to add the other courses and build the atelier space, we need resources: 2 professional sewing machines, 5 basic sewing machines, materials, and hire 2 Dutch and French language teachers for a total of 15.000 euro.

We hope to raise this money with your help! If our Growfunding campaign is succesful, we can begin with the first SewForLife classes for 36 women after the Summer, and get ready for the graduation collections of 2021! 


In exchange for your donation, we would love to get to know you and invite you to become part of the SewForLife founding community. And we want to give you something back.

The first 100 Growfunders are invited to celebrate the opening of NJØRD"SewForLife"EMPOWERMENT after the Summer at a party hosted by our friends at Lab North.

Depending on the amount of your donation, you will also get a sustainable and fairtrade gift, designed and made with love, or get to work or be trained by Ftouma at SewForLife's atelier. 

No matter how small or big your gift is, we deeply appreciate your commitment and support. We cannot do this without you. Let's build a fairer and more united society together!


Keep an eye on the NJØRD"SewForLife"Empowerment Facebook page for updates and stories about the campaign.


Photos by Camille Cooken (website)