Our Program and Purpose

​​Fairly and ethically made jewelry by refugee artisans in St. Louis

Ethically-made jewelry by refugee women artisans

Since 2009, Forai (Friends of Refugees and Immigrants) has focused on three things: dignity, empowerment, and community. Every purchase empowers vulnerable women through home-based income generation.



Home-Based Income Generation

Home Based Jewelry Making

Forai fosters a sense of dignity by tapping into the desire for creativity and productivity, equipping artisans with skills in jewelry-making or sewing.

Crafting Forai jewelry and textiles gives the opportunity for income generation while caring for the needs of the family – overcoming common barriers for refugee and immigrant women (childcare, language, health, transportation).

“I feel good (when I see someone wearing jewelry I made)! I made that!”
- Madhavi (artisan with Forai’s Jewelry Team, 2010-2020)



Refugees learning computer skills

Forai seeks to empower refugee and immigrant women through opportunities to work alongside others. These positions incorporate on-the-job training in the English language, computer skills, crafting, leadership, volunteer management, and much more.

Through training on home and commercial sewing machines, Forai seeks to equip talented women and connect them with local manufacturers, home decor workrooms, and alterations shops.

“Forai gave me the confidence to begin managing my own sushi business.”
- Lun (Assistant Sewing Coordinator, 2018-2020)


A Place to Connect

1-1 mentoring and English tutoring

For many refugees, “the land of opportunity” becomes a place of suffering and isolation. Navigating healthcare, education, and transportation is overwhelming. Through community gatherings, classes, and the 1-1 mentoring program, Forai aids in assimilation to a new homeland by weaving connections that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.

I met Uap through Forai’s mentoring program and her family has become so precious to me. When the pandemic hit, she texted me, “Mom, help!” With so little English, Uap didn’t know how to keep her son engaged in virtual school or how to help him with his lessons. And so I began homeschooling Lian via FaceTime every morning!”
- Susan, volunteer mentor (since 2017)