Every hand embroidered t-shirt is a representation of the woman who embroiders it, giving her back independence and dignity. Re-energizing the timeless craft of hand embroidery, every t-shirt is symbolic of women expressing freedom-transcending issues of conflict, abuse and women’s rights.
Amrita Thadani (Founder)
On weekends volunteering my time with resettlement organizations helped me understand the magnitude of the refugee crisis. I learnt that the biggest challenge started once refugees received asylum some of which included housing, adjusting to a different culture, finding a job, surviving on food stamps and learning a foreign language. Our weekly workshops and interaction with women refugees and displaced women, understanding their needs and their stories of oppression, women's rights, racism and sexism started NEOCOCO in the fall of 2017. With over 15 years of experience as a Fashion Stylist and a graduate from Parsons, The New School, I was able to combine fashion to work for a cause very dear to me.
Sandra was introduced to us through the DTWC-Los Angeles. Born and raised in Mexico Sandra says it was never easy for her growing up as transgender. She lived on the streets of LA for 2 years before being an active participant at the DTWC. She is appreciative of the help through the center and the housing that they provide her. She wants to be financially independent and working with us allows her to take care of herself.
Ibtisam was born and raised in Iraq. She fled Iraq in 2014 with her three teenage boys to Turkey. The United Nations considered their case and they were allowed admission into the US in 2016. For the 2 years in Turkey her sons had no education and since their move to the US she has had no job and we are happy to be able to help. She talks about leading a simple life without living in fear of losing her son and providing them with a well deserved education and future.
We met Ines through the Program for Torture Victims. At home in Mexico, as a transgender woman she suffered much abuse at the hands of authorities. People ran her over with their car in an attempt to kill her. Here in the US, having received asylum, she is able to live her life as the person she truly is, but even here, she says, when you apply for work, if they see you are different, you don’t get the job. Without work and without money, Ines grew deeply depressed. Working for Neococo, she is accepted. She says, “I make my best effort to be productive. In the group, I chat and unburden myself.” The first time she received pay, Ines told us she’d never before held a check in her hands. She said, “I feel happy.”
Rosa fled El Salvador after suffering a violent attack by an MS-13 gang member and more threats against her and her children. When she left to seek asylum in the US, she only had enough money to bring one of her two beautiful sons with her. Today, her heart breaks and she asks God to forgive her for leaving one of the boys behind without protection. She has a job that pays very little and needs to earn extra money with Neococo so she can send for her son. She says, “When I remember all that happened, all the fears come back to me. When I am embroidering, I feel better. I can feel the sadness begin to go away.”
Magdelena was introduced to Neococo by the Downtown Women's Center. She spent 3 years living on the streets before she was provided permanent supportive housing at the Women's Center. Crocheting keeps her out of trouble and she sells the products for a small fee at the Downtown Women’s Center cafe. She is determined to better her life and we love having her as part of our team.