YMCA Newcomers Giving Back

Afiyat, a skilled tailor, sews masks for the community.


Newcomers to Canada are giving back as part of a community sewing group.

The YMCA Newcomer Sewing Group is a Community Connection initiative that was started about a year ago. Many newcomers sew not only to practice their hobby but also for healing and to give back to their community.

At the beginning of the pandemic, club participant Hasan Yousef started sewing masks for friends and neighbours, but soon wanted to do more for the community and front line workers (as did others). The Y reached out to Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex, who had a similar project, and they were able to donate fabric, thread, and elastic to the group, while also assisting with community distribution.

Throughout this project, participants have built new connections and contributed to their community. On average every Newcomer sewer has made 100 to 150 masks, totalling over 500 masks in all!

Afiyat Shikh Haydar, a skillful tailor says "I am sewing because I like to offer these masks to people so they can protect themselves from the virus. This is the least I can do to make a difference, the way Canada has made a difference in our lives.”

"When I make masks, it gives me a sense of satisfaction that I do something good for my community." - Matgorzata Czarnecke

Matgorzata sews masks as part of the newcomer sewing group.
Hasan sews masks as part of the Y's newcomer sewing group.