About Us


About us

DAWN (Developing Alternatives for Women in New Communities) is an organization that aims at providing a supportive atmosphere for economic growth by enhancing existing skills and developing new skills in order to increase self-confidence, awareness of community resources, mainstreaming, earning capacity in women.

This community effort involves individuals, churches, temples and other groups interested in empowerment of women.


History and Mission

Our current refugees from Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan have lived in camps for many years. These UN operated camps provided food, shelter and clothing and some basic education. Some of the women received basic training in sewing skills. They were not allowed to work outside the camp – thus depriving majority of the population an incentive to improve the quality of their lives.

Coming to USA and learning to fend for themselves has been a challenge. The women have very basic education and few job skills. Many of them are working at packaging plants in the local area.

Our mission is to help refugee women nurture and enhance their talents in order to help them make good extra income and develop some marketable skills in sewing. To this end, we have developed a sewing project for women in Akron.


What we do

The sewing project allows students to hone their sewing skills by attending training classes at the Patterson Community Park in Akron. The students learn technical sewing terms, using electric sewing machine & tools, different fabrics, etc. In addition to the sewing classes, students can participate in leadership training, team building and, learn about improving sales skills, self- help and identifying local resources. Classes are held in English. All classes are instructed by volunteer teachers. We recycle, teach and up-style donated Indian saree fabric to products which can be sold at local holiday bazaars. Our students learn to apply and fine-tune their skills in the United States.

Instructors and the women students have made a commitment, the results of which is an increased sense of pride in themselves. They are developing skills, discovering local resources and improving their chances of better jobs. The end goal is to empower women students to either earn as independent contractor or find an employer requiring a semi-skilled employee in sewing or both.

The classes are open to women of all faiths. Classes are held at Patterson Community Park Center, North Hill, Akron, Ohio in partnership with City of Akron. Click here to learn more about the current class schedule.


Meet the team

Manju Rastogi

Manju Rastogi

President, Board Member

Gabriele Oberdorfer

Vice-President, Treasurer, Board Member
2016 07 25 005

Archana Mehta

KSU Faculty, Board Member
Janet Goheen , (2)

Janet Goheen

Retired school counselor, Board Member

Cathy Parker

Quilting & Sewing Advisor, Community Volunteer
Diana Bennett (2)

Denise Sondereker

Quilting Expert, Sewing Instructor

Tika Luitel

Student Advisory Committee

Durga Katel

Student Advisory Committee

Suma Magadi

Volunteer - IT, Content Management

501 (c) (3) Public Charity Status

State of Ohio: 301323500937        Tax ID#: 46-3379615