The Maya Collection is a cooperative made up of refugees in Louisville, Kentucky, who utilize their native skills creating unique jewelry, handmade crafts and soaps, and various textile products. The purpose that drives these Artisans is to help themselves become financially independent.

Refugees that are relocated to America struggle due to a lack of formal education and job experience as well as the challenge of learning English. A refugee is defined as someone who flees their homeland because of danger of persecution based on race, religion or nationality.

The Artisans meet weekly a the Southside Ministry Center located at 5007 Southside Drive, Louisville, KY, 40214. Each week, volunteers work alongside with the refugee artisans to help them design products to sell locally and through this website.

We are hopeful that through this website you will get to know our talented artisans and see their amazing crafts. If you would like to volunteer or donate supplies or financial resources, please contact us at mayaartisans@gmail.com.  It is important to note that we are NOT a 501(c)3 organization because our Artisans make 100% of the profits from the sale of their items. Maya Collection is a business so that our Artisan refugees can earn money to support their families.

THE NEPAL REFUGEE STORY

 

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For hundreds of years these peaceful women and their families lived in the southern region of Bhutan. They spoke the Nepali language and practiced the Hindu faith. They also were the descendants of Nepali immigrants who were invited in the 1800′s to farm the southern lowlands of Bhutan. In the 1980′s the Buddhist government of Bhutan began to consider the growth of this Nepali-speaking population a threat to their majority rule. By 1992, following persecution, imprisonment without trial and torture, over 100,000 had fled Bhutan seeking refuge in Nepal.

For almost 20 years these people have lived in poverty confined to refugee camps surrounded by barbed wire in Nepal. Life was hard in the camps with all homes made of bamboo, food limitations and lack of basic resources. With no alternatives for residence anywhere else, these people began to be accepted into U.N. member countries in Europe, Canada and the U.S. in 2008.