Refugees In Westchester Make Protective Masks For Coronavirus Fight

Sewing masks
Photo credit iStock / Getty Images Plus
By WCBS Newsradio 880
Difference Makers on WCBS 880 is supported by New York Community Bank and the NYCB Family of Bank, serving the needs of our communities, in good times and bad, since 1859. CONTACT US to let us know about the heroes in your community.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — When refugees escape a war-torn country, Holly Rosen Fink of the nonprofit Neighbors for Refugees welcomes them with open arms and helps them resettle in Westchester County.

"We find them jobs; we find them housing. We provide ESL and other ways to integrate them into American life," Rosen Fink tells WCBS 880's Sean Adams. "We also have an incubator program that helps refugees that have great business ideas form their own businesses."

One of those businesses includes Amina's Alterations in White Plains, started by Amina Ahmad, a Kurd who escaped Syria.

She and several other women from Afghanistan are now part of a sewing army making masks for the coronavirus fight.

When a friend started Masks for NY, Rosen Fink figured her organization could help.

She knew of some women who were seamstresses in their home countries of Afghanistan and Syria, including Ahmad.

"I feel very happy. I feel really grateful. I could do something a very simple thing that's important like a mask. It's a very simple thing, but it's important," Ahmad said. 

Ahmad and others volunteered to sew masks for free as a way to give back, but Neighbors for Refugees raised funds to pay them.

"I'm really proud that we've given them the ability to participate in the America that they came to," Rosen Fink said. "They want to be integrated, they want to help, and we're really glad that we're giving them the skills and tools to do that."

Stay informed, stay connected — follow WCBS 880 on Facebook and TwitterDownload the RADIO.COM app + favorite WCBS 880 for breaking news, traffic and weather alerts.