Refugees often live in ‘hotspots’ where the effects of climate change and conflict coalesce. In these contexts, the impacts of a warming planet can both be the cause of displacement and make living conditions of those already displaced more difficult by exacerbating issues like water shortage and food scarcity.
This Earth Day, we are proud to shine a light on our innovative social enterprise partners who, together with refugee artisan groups, are taking action to tackle climate change by giving new life to waste materials.
WomenCraft, a Tanzanian social enterprise partner, started working with Burundian refugees living in camps in 2016. Resources were scarce, but plastic grain sacks, left over from food ration provisions in the camp were not. Refugee artisans were able to start gathering this waste material, stripping it down into threads, and using it to create woven baskets using local grass and traditional techniques. The baskets, are a sustainable and beautiful home décor solution that has reduced waste in the camps, and offers consumers something unique and meaningful.
Waste Studio was created by designers seeking innovation and sustainability in the artisan sector. The journey began in 2006 by reusing advertising banners to produce bags for everyday use. Today the brand designs unique and classic bags, accessories and furniture that are both aesthetically beautiful and sustainable. Each design prioritizes the use of all types of recycled materials including tire inner tubing, seatbelt materials and urban landscaping waste. Working with refugee artisans, Waste has created a unique line of upcycled home décor that is embellished with free-spirited embroidery, a celebration of the heritage needlework skills that the refugees brought with them from Syria.
SilaiWali refugee artisans in India up-cycle waste fabric generated from apparel factories in their area. Each fabric is handpicked from these discarded scraps ensuring the quality of each doll. Clothing in landfills can last for 200+ years while decomposing and emitting harmful greenhouse gases. According to Remake, 80% of all textiles are destined for the landfill. Any amount of fabric waste diverted helps, plus we think these dolls make the cutest gifts!
Every small action has a big impact. By supporting these initiatives we hope the global perception of how we create and consume will shift, bringing a healthier, more sustainable world for all.