Refugee inclusion through sewing at Social Fabric, Zurich

Social Fabric promotes a holistic approach to integration with corresponding strategies to achieve a vision in which people from refugee backgrounds can participate in Swiss society. We advocate for social inclusion and educational opportunities. As a community, we believe that we have a responsibility to treat all people and our environment with care and respect.

Open Sewing Courses


We begin again with Open Sewing Courses on 19th of January 2022. 

Open Sewing Courses take place twice per week:

Wednesdays from 2.30 until 5 p.m. 

Thursdays from 9.30 a.m. until 12 p.m.

The courses take place in our atelier and are opened to all participants with refugee background. The aim of our courses is to bring together people to learn how to make clothes and accessories, and to establish a network of support. It's an easy-going social space with lots of possibilities for creativity.

Courses are free of charge and require no prior registration. We have a stock of donated fabrics available to the participants of the courses and our volunteers are here to guide the process. 

Everyone is welcome to participate! Come and join us at Eichstrasse 29, Zürich.

We kindly ask all course participants to present a Covid-19 certificate upon their first participation. Thank you for understanding! 



In autumn 2019, we added pre-apprenticeships to our education opportunities. This program is a valuable step before apprenticeships.

Pre-apprentices are employed by Social Fabric and start their path of education within Switzerland. They join our production team with the aim to develop their sewing skills further. They also learn how to manage customer orders, host sewing sessions, and organise an atelier.

The pre-apprenticeship takes 1 year to complete whereas the goal is to find an apprenticeship (EBA or EFZ) afterwards. During this time, they visit the Berufsschule Mode und Gestaltung for 1.5 days and work at Social Fabric for 2.5-3.5 days.

The pre-apprenticeship is for refugees that bring experience in sewing and that are highly motivated to pursue an apprenticeship (either in tailoring or other fields) afterwards. The level of German needs to be at least A2.

Social Fabric is engaged to offer this valuable position to 2 people every year. Between January and April we offer Schnuppertage and are happy to receive applications. We also consider participants from our Open Sewing Cours as possible candidates which makes it more interesting to join our atelier during the whole year.


We are currently offering an apprenticeship to a person who comes from a refugee background, and the next available position opens up from August 2022 onwards. We highly recommend applying for our pre-apprenticeship positions beforehand.

Apprentices are employed by Social Fabric for two years in order to reach the Eidgenössische Berufsattest (EBA) as Bekleidungsnäher/in. They will join our production team and start an education in tailoring. Apprentices will visit the Schule für Mode und Gestalten am BBZ in Olten for one day to learn theoretical knowledge for the profession.

We first started with Apprenticeship program in 2018 with the first graduate finishing the Apprenticeship program in July 2020.

During the apprenticeship, the focus lies on sewing different pieces of clothing using both machines as well as handmade techniques in our atelier. 

Apprentices must present a level of at least B1 in German, with a certificate for EBA and B2 for EFZ.


We work with the Zürich-based organisation AOZ to offer positions under their GEP Programme, which is a voluntary work placement program for people with refugee backgrounds. The placement and administration is managed by AOZ while we offer work experience in our production team.

The programme is especially directed towards people with very basic German skills and those who are not yet allowed to be employed due to permit restrictions. Social Fabric strives to make a positive contribution to assist people who don’t yet have many options. The German-speaking work environment, as well as the important role of being a team member, empowers our GEP participants and motivates them.

We are committed to providing this valuable experience to at least two people each year. The work placement at Social Fabric can be requested through AOZ.

Refugee education and work integration at Social Fabric, Zurich