The bright room is filled with excited chatter and tables of sewing machines. Lined along with the colorful fabric in the Rightfully Sewn seamstress training center walk three women—two in matching gold chiffon hijabs and their mother, who is wearing a pearl-decorated hijab.

Mashuta Wak, along with her daughters Tirina and Injilla, graduated from Rightfully Sewn through Catholic Charities’ St. Rita program. St. Rita, a Catholic Charities Workforce program, is designed to remove barriers for those who are unemployed or underemployed. It provides support and assistance needed to earn a certificate or degree. The career paths individuals have followed range anywhere from IT to nursing to transportation.

This past year, the St. Rita program has served nearly 100 individuals. Of those, seven received academic or certification credentials; 18 secured employment; 15 increased their income; and 11 strengthened their financial well-being. In the coming weeks, the St. Rita program will graduate nine more individuals!

“It is extremely gratifying to be able to take this journey with our participants,” William Dowdell, Director of Workforce, says, “It’s a shared experience, so we walk alongside our participants in this journey and partner with them, building the tomorrow for them and their families.”

Mashuta Wak and her daughters were among millions of families who fled Afghanistan in recent months, finding refuge in Kansas City and ultimately resettled by the Catholic Charities refugee resettlement program. Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas has been fortunate enough to support this family from their first days in the United States to the first moments of a new career.

To learn more about St. Rita and Workforce programs, visit: