Artisan Profile - Zippora

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Zippora is from a tiny ethnic group in a remote mountainous region of Kayah State, Myanmar. Because of severe political and food insecurity in the area, by the time she was 10 both of Zippora’s parents died. Her only brother left home to look for work, so Zippora began a nomadic life, finding farms where she could trade domestic work for a place to sleep. When she was 18, she migrated to the Thai border where she met her husband. Four of her children were born in makeshift camps along the border, until they were able to move to an official refugee camp in Thailand. In 2008, Zippora’s husband died suddenly, leaving her to care for five children alone. In May 2009, the family was finally approved for resettlement and began the long journey to St. Louis. With very little English, Zippora used her weaving and sewing skills to make extra money on her own for several years until she found Forai. At Forai, she enjoys making our baby bibs and onesies at home while caring for her grandchildren and relishes the time she spends with other seamstresses at our sewing classes.