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Fatima got a yellow bird

It is calm and peaceful in the Social Fabric sewing atelier. The sewing machines rattle quietly, the scissors cut through sheets of fabric, and the steam iron puffs gently along.

Kouassi sits by the window and works. His mood was quite bad a moment ago, and no one could cheer him up. Now, he begins to sing softly, and a cosmetic pouch takes shape under his deft hands. Hanna sits next to him and sews pillowcases. The two exchange a few words in German now and then. They don't have the same mother tongue, and German is generally spoken in the atelier. Fatima puts down the scissors and looks at her choice of fabric again. She produces napkins from fabric scraps and assembles them into sets. She looks at the different designs, checks the material, and decides carefully. Her family has been badly affected by the earthquake in Turkey - she is immersing herself in her work. Ruth experiments with a thick, stiff sheet. It was part of a standup paddle that will now be recycled. The old leather sewing machine might come in handy.

"Kouassi, you have a lot of experience. What do you think about it?"

Justine welcomes an employee of the Youth Red Cross. They will again offer a holiday course for young refugees with Social Fabric. Last year's offer was met with great interest, and the participants continued using the sewing atelier afterwards.

"We have to organize the breaks well," says Justine.

Sewing awakens ambition and makes you want to keep working. The social is not to be neglected at all. The event is led by volunteers from the sewing atelier. They work together with the Red Cross volunteers. There will be a choice of sewing projects: hair bands made from fabric scraps, a gym bag and a pair of trainer trousers. The patterns are already there and have been tried and tested. The fabric and material are donated by different people and organisations. Everything is recycled. The small scraps are finally used as filling material for yoga cushions.

During lunch, Kouassi talks about his home country Togo. "In my generation, people still think that Togo belongs to France." He shakes his head. His field of interest is history and politics. “C'est ma passion” - what does it mean in German? “Leidenschaft”, yes, it's my “Leidenschaft” (passion). The team moves on to the so-called Monday talk and reviews the past week. Hanna has just completed a Red Cross course on caring for the elderly and people with dementia. Justine has been looking into possible relief efforts for the people affected by the earthquake in Turkey. Fatima smiles. She doesn't talk about the earthquake, but that she got a yellow bird and a cage to go with it.

"Canary" Ruth immediately writes on the flipchart. Each new word is noted and shared.

Ruth works on the prototype of a bag that Haus Konstruktiv has ordered for the museum shop. Kouassi has given ten private lessons, and the customer was very satisfied. Kouassi acts cool, but his eyes are smiling. Mari photographed the new products for the website. She comes from Estonia and sometimes must search for words. It is a matter of course here in the sewing atelier that everyone always tries to understand each other. Hanna would like to know something about the weekend activities. That would interest her. She infects everyone with her openness and laughter. Unfortunately, the exchange is over for today.

Elisabeth enters and greets the group.

The former seamstress has been working as a volunteer in the sewing atelier for six years and comes every week.

Today she has an extraordinary appointment with a former Open Sewing Course participant who needs help sewing curtains. Everyone is happy to see the Eritrean woman again. She brings fruit for the team and quickly tells them about her German course before she sits down at the machine. "Elisabeth, could you remember Salma right away?" asks Justine. "Of course." Elisabeth expertly picks up the fabric and shows Salma where to unravel the hem. Soon it is calm again in the sewing studio. The machines rattle quietly and the iron puffs along.


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