Sewing freedom at Fre3

Urmila sitting with a sewing machine and handmade dresses at Fre3. Photo by David Kho

Urmila sitting with a sewing machine and handmade dresses at Fre3. Photo by David Kho

By David Kho, DTS student

Today we are touring a business called Fre3, which is run out of a small apartment by a couple named Mary and Richard. The entry hallway is cramped, framed by light-blue walls and adorned with signs and pictures. A few steps inward has a doorway on the right showing welcome, and inside three women are diligently sewing away on purple tote bags. Sunlight drifts in through clear windows and a sense of calm pervades the air.

Still more steps down the hallway is another room with two more women carefully measuring and cutting soft fabrics. At the end of the hall in the center is a restroom, on the left is a quaint kitchen, and on the right is a purple walled office with rows of tote bags, young girls’ clothing, and accessories – each simple, elegant and unique to any other.

Mary and Richard explain how Fre3 (whose logo has the E and the 3 in the shape of a butterfly) partners with other organizations who rescue women from domestic violence, trafficking, and other areas, and then trains them to work and support themselves. They decline to comment on the womens’ backgrounds because the whole idea is to be free, free from their past stigmas and lifestyle to be redeemed into something new. Each woman has her own personal bio that they share on the Fre3 website.

Richard continues, “Every outfit is handmade by a single woman from start to finish. On the inside tag you can see the name of the woman who made it.”

We are set free to browse. A particular dress catches my attention. It was small, white and graceful, with a simple gray sash around the middle and an equally dainty handbag to match. “Urmila” is printed on the tag. One of the women I see is Urmila, and she had put forth much precision, effort and care into sewing this dress. Seeing the women, I wouldn’t have imagined any of them coming from a hard or nightmarish background.

The redemption that God sets forth through Richard and Mary and their partner groups is touching to see. We ended our time praying over Fre3, over the other organizations and the Christians in Nepal working together in unity to redeem the broken, the lost and the poor.

If you want to read more about Fre3 or the women that work there, you can check out their website at: http://www.fre3.org/

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