Refugees walked for days or weeks carrying these sheets, decorated with swirls of flowers, trees, and animals. Before the war milayas were used for dowries and celebrations, but now, after years of violence, they held the refugees’ last possessions.
The civil war in South Sudan has displaced more than two million people. Today, in Bidibidi, the second largest refugee camp in the world, women continue to sew milaya. They’re hung at church on Sundays, and decorate funerals and weddings.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Nora and National Geographic writer Nina Strochlic successfully established a non-profit connecting international customers with South Sudanese women making hand-embroidered pillowcases, bedspreads, and wall hangings.