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South Salt Lake Journal

Community works to bring a refugee’s dream business into existence

Jul 01, 2022 10:27AM ● By Bill Hardesty

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

Hanifa Javardi is a new member of the South Salt Lake business community. She is opening a sewing shop at 3443 S. State Street, Suite 19. While this is news, the noteworthy part of the story is how the community is rallying around her.

Former Utah Royals FC player Annie Hawkins is trying to "rally the community to transform a humble storefront on State Street into a refugee's dream business."

"I want to show her and the community that there are a lot of people that can make dreams come true," Hawkins said.

The dream

Javardi came to the United States six years ago from Afghanistan. Her dream is to have a sewing shop for herself and other women. As a single mother, she pursued her dream. Currently, she employs 26 women who sew in their homes. This model works in the Afghan community because having women work outside the home is unacceptable for some Afghans. However, other women need a place to work.

Javardi wants the sewing shop as a place people can gather for alterations, tailoring, conversation and tea.

The location is leased, but the space isn't functional.


Hawkins, along with her friend, Brittany Baker, are renovators. Through a friend relationship, they learned about Javardi and her dream.

They visited the site and fell in love with Javardi and her textile entrepreneurial spirit.

They are building a cutting table for Javardi and others. They plan to put many shelves for material and finished products. In addition, they want to build a platform for alterations and tailoring. Hawkins mentioned there is a small nook in the building—the perfect place for a tea station. Sharing tea is an important cultural tradition to Javardi. Her eyes danced when the idea was presented to her.

GoFundMe initiative

While Hawkins and Baker donate their time and design skills to renovate, they hope the community will help pay for material.

They estimate the renovations will cost $20,000. As of this writing, they have raised $8,424. Their GoFundMe page is

Hawkins and Baker have offered to write the names of all donors on the shop's walls. In the end, they will paint over the names to protect privacy. However, donors will still be part of the construction.

"We want to make the place functional and beautiful for Javardi, her employees, and her customers," Hawkins said.