South Asian Council For Social Services holds graduation ceremony for ‘Stitch with SACSS’ program  

From left, Padmavathi Kommera, Amina Ahmed, SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya, M. Sita Rama Lakshmi, Nitaben Suthar, State Assembly Member Nily Rozic, Manjuben Darji, Meenakshi Jhaveri, Rema Venu, Amina Rasheed, Khemwantie Boadnarine and Akhi Akter at the second Stitch with SACSS graduation ceremony held on Wednesday, Jan. 10. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/SACSS

The South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) celebrated the second graduating class of ‘Stitch with SACSS’ on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024.

State Assembly Member Nily Rozic attended the ceremony to present certificates to nine women in recognition of their achievement for completing the four-day, 10-week tailoring program that teaches South Asian immigrant women the skill of sewing while gaining financial independence. In support of starting their small business, SACSS gifted each student a sewing machine.

“Ten weeks is a long time and a big commitment, and I’m very proud of you. Mothers, sisters, daughters, we know we can do anything and there’s a whole social media world out there ready to buy your clothing,” Assemblywoman Rozic said in her speech.

Rozic also presented SACSS with a $50,000 check that will support the organization’s Food Pantry and its Job Readiness Program.

State Assembly Member Nily Rozic (r.) presents a $50,000 check to SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya. PHOTO: SACSS

Amina Ahmed, mother of an 8-month-old daughter, thanked SACSS for their support.

“I didn’t know how to use the sewing machine, and now I’m feeling very confident because we learned everything – from how to sew a kurti, pants, a blouse and a lehenga,” Ahmed said. “I think every girl should be financially independent and I thank SACSS for giving me this opportunity to start my own business and earn an income.”

State Assembly Member Nily Rozic takes a look at the students’ garments displayed in the SACSS Community Center. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/SACSS)

Sita Rama Lakshmi said she is “feeling good and confident to sew and will continue to practice and open a business.”

Khemwantie Boadnarine echoed her peers’ sentiments saying, “I’m happy and glad that I learned how to sew, and now I can help others. I thank SACSS for giving us this opportunity.”

The SACSS Women’s Economic Independence Program, Stitch with SACSS, was launched in July 2023. In the program, women learn sewing, pattern making, fabric cutting, garment construction, and alterations. The program is coordinated by Rema Venu and is taught by Manjula Darji.

SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya, SACSS Director of Family Support Services Mary Archana Fernandez, Stitch with SACSS graduate Amina Ahmed, State Assembly Member Nily Rozic, and SACSS Manager of Job Preparedness Rema Venu at the Stitch with SACSS graduation ceremony held on Wednesday, Jan. 10. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/SACSS)

“I feel proud of myself for teaching my students how to stitch the clothes. My students are happy, and I am happy because they learned the business of working from home,” Darji said.

The next Stitch with SACSS class begins on Monday, January 22.

The SACSS was founded in 2000 with the goal of empowering integrating underserved South Asians and all immigrants into the economic and civic life of New York through the fundamentals of food security, healthcare access, job preparedness, senior services, and much more.

In 2023, SACSS served more than 200,000 people. All SACSS’s programs are free and available in 19 languages including Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Nepali, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, Spanish, Creole, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka and Malay.



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