Partner since: 2023
Refugee origin: South Sudan
Refugee location: Uganda

The Milaya Project is a non-profit founded by photographer Nora Lorek and National Geographic writer Nina Strochlic. It connects South Sudanese refugees with customers who want to support the traditional art form of milayas, a hand-embroidered bedsheet. It’s a volunteer-run organization with all profits reinvested in scaling-up the project and supporting the women working with it. The project operates in Bidibidi refugee camp, and collaborates with a women’s collective that involves between 50 to 100 women embroidering milayas.

Refugee Artisan Group

The Milaya Project collaborates with South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda. Currently, the group consists of 50 women based in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement.

South Sudan Emergency

Learn More about the South Sudan emergency and UNHCR's work in the region


On their way from South Sudan to Uganda refugees walked for days or weeks carrying embroidered sheets, decorated with swirls of flowers, trees, and animals. Before the war these milayas were used for dowries and celebrations, but now, after years of violence, they held the refugees’ last possessions.

- The Milaya Project story