An entrepreneur in Italy is helping refugee women learn new skills, find support and gain self-sufficiency through fashion.
“I had to find a way to help these women,” said Barbara Spenzini in Italy Newsroom. “I believe God sent them to me.”
Spenzini founded Colori Vivi in 2017 in Turin, Italy, to make clothing and accessories for women. The company provides tailoring jobs and training for refugee mothers from many regions, including Nigeria, Somalia and Libya.
Latter-day Saint Charities has purchased supplies and new fabrics over the years for Colori Vivi and contributed sewing and other specialized tailoring machines.
“Barbara has made helping other women her life’s work,” said Kraig Christensen, a senior humanitarian and self-reliance missionary. “It is a privilege for us to contribute to her good works and support her inspired vision.”
The women arriving in Italy have escaped war, spousal abuse or life on the streets. Spezini said the creativity in fashion design has also been a valued skill for them as they work on building their new lives.
“One new member of our team, named Sadia, inspired a starry night fabric pattern for a particular garment,” said Spezini. “When she was fleeing a prison in Libya, she left in the dark of night with only the starlight to guide her to freedom. Sadia took that traumatic event and turned it into something inspiring and beautiful.”