It all started five years ago when Cecila Sakatira was a volunteer with Nea Zoi. At first she had a simple desire to help people trafficked into prostitution in Athens. She would walk the street, talk to the women, pray for them, give them tea and offer help in whatever form she could. But Cecilia soon became restless because she felt something more was needed. The question was, what?
Cecelia explains, “As I saw the despair in the women, I prayed and the Lord gave me an idea to start a sewing project. I’m a third-generation seamstress, so I grew up around sewing machines and learned the trade from a very young age and even used to make my own clothes. Few shared my vision, but I had a strong sense in my heart that this project was something the Lord wanted me to do. So, with my own sewing machine and 500 Euros I stepped out in faith.
Initially, the project was a place where women could come to learn how to sew and hear about God. We would read the Bible, pray, and then teach the ladies how to sew and soon I had volunteers to help with the babies. In 2014, we registered Threads of Hope as a not-for-profit with the Greek government, set up our own production space and bank account while working closely with Nea Zoi and EME Ministries.
Many of our women are mothers and come from different countries, including Nigeria, Congo, Cameroon, Ghana, Bulgaria, and Romania. We have helped 11 women who have left the life of prostitution and currently have four women working a 5 hour- day who produce a range of bags, purses and accessories. Once we employed, we register the women with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare enabling us to pay them a monthly salary plus social security. It is a spiritual battle to help these women and there’s a constant need to be in prayer, because we are dealing with women who have been exposed to so many things, such as magic, voodoo, witchcraft and the occult. These are not things that we approach lightly. We are always aware that “unless we abide in Christ” our work will not accomplish much.
We often face financial challenges, which is all too common in an economy like Greece. Lack of markets to sell our products is a challenge, and currently I travel a bit during the summer to sell products, source new orders, and try to reach out to businesses who can sell our products. What joy it is when I see women transformed from victim to survivor! How fulfilling to watch a woman learn a new skill in a matter of months and begin to sew. My greatest delight is to see women reconciled with their Father God and to watch them begin to walk with Him.
In future, we hope to expand into other product lines, such as weaving. This will require getting additional equipment for which we will need to raise funds. We would also like to offer training in Basic Bookkeeping, Literacy and Computer Skills.”
Find out more: www.threadsofhope.gr