Promising Practices Program

Administering Organization

Hamdard Healthcare

Program Name

Creatively Empowered Women (CEW) Design Studio

Program Objectives and Unique Needs Addressed

  1. To enhance social wellbeing and provide emotional support using crafting (knitting, crocheting, sewing and art sessions) to cope with trauma for immigrant and refugee women.
  2. To provide an avenue for self-efficacy and skill development of the CEW members to enhance social capital by promoting economic empowerment. 
  3. To provide out reach programs in collaboration with other organizations, using yarn crafts for therapeutic means and enrolling skilled members for CEW.

Program Description

CEW Design Studio is a Chicago-based art therapy social enterprise serving Bosnian refugees and South Asian immigrant women. CEW (Creatively Empowered Women) provides a welcoming space for sewing, knitting, crocheting and art sessions that enhance life skills and cultivate a sense of community. CEW promotes holistic well-being through skill sharing and fellowship. Craft and fabrication are used as a way to develop social capital and empower women by offering practical, economic and emotional support.

Resource Materials Used in Program

  • Riley, J., Corkhill, B. & Morris, C. (2012). The benefits of knitting for personal and social wellbeing in adulthood: Findings from an international survey.  The British Journal of Occupation Therapy. 76(2): 50-58.
  • Geda, Y., Topazian, H., Roberts, L., Roberts, R., Knopman, D., Pankratz, V.S., Christianson, T., Boeve, B., Tangalos, E., Ivnik, R. & Petersen, R. (2011). Engaging in cognitive activities, aging and mild cognitive impairment: A population based study.  Journal of Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci . 23(2): 149–154. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.23.2.149
  • Also see Stitchlinks:

Groups Served by Program

Older women between ages of 65 to 84.

Program Funding

One private funder and the Albert Pick Jr. Foundation.

Program Staffing and Required Staff Training

Program coordinator, Program Director, and marketing coordinator.

Program Evaluation

Development of leadership skills and strengths  

  1. Participant satisfaction with program components and structure 
  2. Evidence of skill development directed towards income generation and economic security

Development of social capital and economic empowerment

  1. Evidence of the development of a social support and social capital within and beyond in the network of women participants
  2. Evidence of perceived empowerment regarding self efficacy and pathways to income generation

Program Outcomes

Outcome 1: Feedback surveys and interviews focused on development of leadership skills
Identification of markets for the hand-made products

Outcome 2: Interviews with participants and program staff
Pre and post surveys of self efficacy, leadership  and empowerment and pathways to economic security 

Photos/ videos documentation

Additional Comments

Program Contact

Savneet Talwar

Program Dates

The program began in 2012 and is still operating as of  2017.