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Blessing the business of a refugee in Kalamazoo

Blessing the business of a refugee in Kalamazoo

An interfaith gathering of residents and religious congregations blessed the opening of Congolese refugee Ndoole Mamboleo’s new tailoring business in Kalamazoo, MI, on Sunday afternoon. reports:

Nearly 100 residents and members of area religious congregations attended a interfaith service Sunday to bless the new ZAFAM Tailoring and Sewing Center in Kalamazoo. The center will provide custom tailoring and sewing machine repairs, also acting as a place for refugees to learn a craft that can sustain their families.

“It had talents but no way to expand it, I was too poor and new to the country (to start a business),” Mamboleo said while wearing a bright orange suit of his own design. “So many people donated, some who I don’t even know their names.” …

Mamboleo will be assisted by master tailor Ahmed Zabib, a Syrian refugee who moved to Kalamazoo with his wife and five children. Zabib lived in the suburbs of Damascus  before shelling of the city forced his family to move to Jordan.

His family spent months of interviews and vetting procedures with the United Nations and the U.S. State Department before being allowed to resettle in August 2016. The Islamic Center asked Zabib to contribute his skills to the new business.

St Martin of Tours Episcopal Church was among the faith congregations represented at the interfaith blessing for the new business initiative. quoted the Rev. Mary Perrin, saying, “The dream of this place was born as people met the refugees, as we learned of their talents and interests and worked to help them find their place.”

The center will continue to accept donations of sewing machines and equipment, she said, as it fulfills a mission to help refugees to learn and earn a skilled living in their new home country.

Read more at, and see a video from the interfaith blessing here.


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