WHAT WE DO
STEP 1: REFERRALS
RAW works with many (69) non-profits and social services in Worcester. These organizations update RAW on recent refugees, and provide contact information for RAW to get in touch with a potential artisan.
STEP 2: PREPARATION
Before making a home visit to a newly arrived refugee, RAW obtains background knowledge on the specific country, and its culture. RAW learns about the cultural customs, the traditional crafts, and other information that might be useful before making a home visit, such as reasons for possible refugee travails (political, genocide, economic, etc.
STEP 3: INTRODUCTION
Once RAW receives the contact information and the background knowledge about the refugee’s culture, RAW makes a home visit, coordinating a translator within the family (i.e. grandson of school age). During this visit, RAW seeks to find out if the refugee has the skills or interest in becoming a part of the project. If the refugee has interest in participating, a second home visit is scheduled.
STEP 4: SECOND HOME VISIT
During the second home visit, a basic starting kit of required materials (raffia, fiber, stone, etc.) is provided so that he or she can create a sample of his or her artwork.
STEP 5: CONFIRMATION
RAW allows a few weeks to pass before making another home visit so that the refugee has time to create their art sample. During the third home visit, however, the refugee learns more about RAW and typically decides whether or not he or she wants to continue making his or her traditional, cultural craft. RAW also learns more about the refugee, his or her skill set and level of interest.
STEP 6: MONTHLY MEETING
If the refugee is interested in becoming a part of RAW and interacting with the larger group of artisans, then he or she is invited to RAW’s monthly meeting. During this meeting, the refugees are brought together so that they can meet each other, participate in a cultural exchange, appreciate different kinds of art, and learn about marketing. Sales events are discussed and inventory is generated in anticipation of an arts and crafts fair.
STEP 7: SELLING
Artisans actively participate in the sale of their art. Each piece is signed by the artist and priced. At the fair, the artisans, through translators and their developing English language skills, talk with customers to explain the indigenous skills. Once an item is purchased, a description of their country of origin is provided with the sales tag. Artisans retain 85% of the sales revenue. The remaining 15% is used to repurchase the materials required for the artisans’ continued work.