SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — '25 Million Stitches' is a project that kicked off in California and has made its way to Maine. The goal is to raise awareness about the global refugee crisis.
25 million people around the globe have been forced to leave their homelands as a consequence of genocide, war, poverty, natural disasters, or targeted violence.
The founder of the project, Jennifer Kim Sohn, believes stitching is a way for people to engage with the refugee crisis.
"I felt helpless and I was reluctant to engage with it but the images were just so powerful and I just couldn't get rid of it," Sohn said.
Images that she kept seeing on TV about Syrian and African refugees and the other millions of individuals being displaced from their homelands.
Each hand-made piece is a recognition of the 25 million refugees worldwide.
"There are 25 million refugees worldwide and this astronomical figure stomped me because I didn't know what 25 million would look like it's such a huge number," Sohn said.
On Tuesday mornings, hand stitchers meet at the Southwest Harbor Public Library in Maine to create panels for the national 25 million stitches project.
"Sometimes it's easy to feel like people don't care and then when you really get involved in the community especially here in Maine you realize that people do care and people want to help," stitcher Lauren Kahofer said.
After the panels are sewn together in California... they will be displayed publicly at an arts center in Sacramento.
"You feel like you are helpless and helping people and you really want people to have well-being and one way to do it is just one stitch at a time," Mary Vekasi, Maine stitcher said.
All in an effort to raise awareness about the ongoing refugee crisis.
Stitching in 44 states and in countries like Uruguay, Poland, India, Canada, and Mexico, Tanzania, England, Australia, Lithuania, France, Jordan and the list goes on.
Around 900 fabric panels are going to be sent to California after participants from 44 states and more than 30 countries stitch them. Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento will have the display mid next year.