South Asian Council for Social Services celebrates second graduating class of sewing program for immigrant women

south asian
SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya, SACSS Director of Family Support Services Mary Archana Fernandez, Stitch with SACSS graduate Padmavathi Kommera, State Assembly Member Nily Rozic and SACSS Manager of Job Preparedness Rema Venu at the Stitch with SACSS graduation ceremony held on Wednesday, Jan. 10.
Photo courtesy of Carlotta Mohamed/SACSS

The South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), located in Flushing, recently celebrated the second graduating class of its Stitch with SACSS program, which teaches South Asian immigrant women how to sew so they can use this skill to become financially independent.

State Assembly Member Nily Rozic attended a ceremony at the organization’s office at 143-02 on 45th Ave. on Jan. 10 and presented certificates to mark the achievement of nine women for completing the 10-week program.

Rozic also gifted SACSS with a check for $50,000 that will support the organization’s food pantry and job readiness programs such as Stitch.

“Ten weeks is a long time and a big commitment, and I’m very proud of you. Mothers, sisters, daughters, we know we can do anything and there’s a whole social media world out there ready to buy your clothing,” Rozic said.

SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya thanked Rozic for the grant and said it will be used to serve the critical needs of 250 families who depend on the food pantry for their next meal.

“This grant will also support 25 students in our Job Readiness Program, and will go a long way in ensuring the economic empowerment of the South Asian immigrant community,” she said.

One graduate, Amina Ahmed, has an eight-month-old daughter and she thanked SACSS for the skills she learned from completing the course.

“I didn’t know how to use the sewing machine, and now I’m feeling very confident because we learned everything – from how to sew a kurti, pants, a blouse and a lehenga. I think every girl should be financially independent and I thank SACSS for giving me this opportunity to start my own business and earn an income,” she said.

The SACSS Women’s Economic Independence Program, Stitch with SACSS, was launched in July of 2023. As part of the program, women learn sewing, pattern making, fabric cutting, garment construction, and alterations. It is coordinated by Rema Venu and is taught by Manjulaben Darji.

“I feel proud of myself for teaching my students how to stitch the clothes. My students are happy, and I am happy because they learned the business of working from home,” Darji said.

Each graduate was also gifted a sewing machine by SACSS. The next Stitch with SACSS class begins on Monday, Jan. 22.