Hope Care and Beyond, of Clinton Township, has established sewing centers where refugees and recent immigrants can learn a marketable skill and even earn an industrial sewing certificate.

Hope Care and Beyond, of Clinton Township, has established sewing centers where refugees and recent immigrants can learn a marketable skill and even earn an industrial sewing certificate.

Photo provided by Hope Care and Beyond


Local organization spreads hope, skills to immigrants and refugees

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published September 20, 2021

 A group of participants at a Hope Care and Beyond Sewing Center.

A group of participants at a Hope Care and Beyond Sewing Center.

Photo provided by Hope Care and Beyond

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Nasir Ali was exposed to Christianity and was baptized as an adult. Although he came from a Muslim family, the Pakistani citizen began doing missionary work in his free time as he embraced his new faith.

He said his faith brought him joy and led to him meeting and marrying his wife, Rachel, in 2008, but as a Christian missionary in a predominantly Islamic nation, Ali was cornered by a radical Muslim group one night as he was leaving a church service.

Determined to put an end to his devotion to Christianity and his preaching against Islam, the group beat him unconscious, leaving him with several broken ribs, a broken arm and a head injury.

Fearing for his own life and the life of his family, Ali and his wife reached out to agencies for help fleeing Pakistan. After many rejections, the family left everything behind to travel to Sri Lanka and apply for refugee status to the United States.

From Sri Lanka, the family was able to fly to Arizona and then settled in Houston, Texas. Meanwhile, Ali still could not use his arm after surgery. Although his wife applied for a work visa, her English skills were very poor.

When the family connected with a representative from Hope Care and Beyond, a Clinton Township-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, however, they began to receive help and assistance settling into life in the United States.

Hope Care and Beyond offers refugee resettlement and support, helping immigrants and refugees transition when they arrive in this country. By providing food, clothing, shelter, English classes, counseling, cultural assimilation, citizenship and driver’s license preparation, translation services and employment assistance, the nonprofit aims to help immigrants and refugees transition more easily to life as new Americans.

The Ali family traveled to Michigan, where Ali had a second surgery on his arm. The organization paid for the first three months of rent and got a car for the family to use — plus, they helped Rachel Ali enroll in English-as-a-second-language classes and receive free occupational training.

“We’ve been doing this work for a pretty long time,” said Brandi Woods, marketing coordinator and liaison for Hope Care and Beyond, 35555 Garfield Road, who shared the Ali family’s story.

Although the name Hope Care and Beyond was only established in late 2020 and early 2021, the organization began as a branch of Pablo International, a Christian mission that helps immigrants and refugees.

“It was a decision to develop us individually because we realize that everybody doesn’t have the same faith, but people still need the help,” Woods said. “We don’t want to deny help to people who need it.”

Refugees and new immigrants often have a skewed perception of American culture based on watching reality television or sitcoms, she said, so they help to get them connected with real Americans to both help them with assimilation and help the American volunteers learn more about the cultures of the refugees.

Hope Care and Beyond does all of this by establishing and helping to run International Friendship Centers at different organizations and churches. It provided assistance to about 500 families in 2020.

“Our Dearborn location is one of our larger campuses,” Woods said. “The purpose of it is to be a hub. We want to get them immediately connected to the community so they feel a part (of it, and) break down barriers of fear.”

The easiest way to do that is through food and learning. Family nights are when immigrant families and American families can come together to learn recipes from each other’s cultures. Hope Care and Beyond also operates sewing centers to help refugee women learn a skill they can use to help their families and build their self-esteem.

Woods said, in working with refugees, they noticed women sometimes faced challenges connecting and building a support system and social network for many reasons, including the need to stay home with young children, the fact that the family only had one car that the husband used to work, and cultural factors that prohibited women from being with other men unless accompanied by a male relation. That hampers the woman’s ability to connect with others, as well as the ability to find and keep work.

The sewing centers, however, give the woman an opportunity to hone a marketable skill, and, in Michigan, the Wayne County Community College District has teamed up with Hope Care and Beyond to help the women earn an industrial sewing certificate.

The women at Hope Care and Beyond Sewing Centers have sewed for designers in the Upper Peninsula and California. During the pandemic, when their husbands may have faced reduced work hours or layoffs, “our ladies got a major contract with (the Detroit Medical Center) and they were able to sew masks and gowns,” Woods said.

“That was a shot in the arm of confidence for them,” she continued.

Being able to earn a certificate from an institution of higher learning has improved the women’s self-esteem and has led them to pursue other goals, such as getting their GED or taking other college classes, Woods said.

“A lot of the ladies, maybe they never had formal education,” she said. “It (has) encouraged them to go further in their education.

“We also have had some become entrepreneurs. It’s a vehicle that helps them to realize, ‘I can do this.’”

As a nonprofit, Hope Care and Beyond is privately funded and relies on volunteers, as well as donations of money, equipment and supplies. To help or learn more, visit hopecareandbyond.com or call (586) 961-6694.

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