CEW Design Studio began in 2012 as a grassroots project to serve refugees and immigrant women who attended the Hamdard Healthcare Center. The artisans of CEW often faced challenges entering the workforce or growing their social networks due to language barriers. Several women cope with mental illness as well as Post Traumatic Stress due to witnessing extreme violence in their former homelands. Over the past few years, CEW participants have become involved in every aspect of the studio development. Some of the women have assumed leadership roles, teaching other participants new skills, or taken ownership of the project, helping shape the studio's future.
CEW studio fosters an environment of cross-cultural communication, expression, and instruction for members. Artisan participants have the opportunity to capitalize on their artistic skills to earn supplemental income. While working together, the participants share stories of their everyday lives, as well as insights into how crafting has been a means of coping during difficult times: the stress of relocating, the experience of war, violence, and genocide. CEW is a participant-guided space where the women creatively engage in supporting each other and sharing their skills to find hope, help, and healing as a community. CEW provides the participants with materials, and products made in the studio are sold at different events, with 70% of the proceeds going to the artisan and 30% to restock the studio.