This Father's Day, we created a collection of products all handcrafted by refugee artisans that celebrates the fathers around the world that are supporting their families, empowering their partners, and championing their daughters and sons. Especially those who protect their children as they flee violence and persecution to build new lives.
One of our favorite products is an grey dop kit created from up-cycled materials by Syrian refugees and local artisans at Waste Studio in Beirut, Lebanon. Inspired by the product, we connected with Waleed Jad, to learn more about the story behind the item.
Waleed co-founded Waste Studio in 2006. The journey began by reusing advertising banners to produce bags for everyday use. Today, the brand designs urban and classic bags, accessories, and furniture that are both aesthetically beautiful and sustainable by prioritizing recycled and reused materials.
We asked Waleed Jad a few of his thoughts on fatherhood, upcycled products, and supporting refugee communities.
Why were you inspired to create a product for fathers day?
As a father I rarely find handmade, useful products on the market. Many of my friends who want to gift a father something, come to me for advice, and I rarely can help.
So why not create something made with care by refugees to make us feel thought of.
What does being a father mean to you?
I don’t want to sound poetic, but being a father means the world to me. My daughter is my inspiration in every way.
What inspired you to begin working with waste materials?
We have been working with upcycled materials since 2006. The trigger was the size of the landfills which are increasing day by day and the negative effect of all this waste on our planet.
What hope and dreams do you have for your children?
I can only wish for my daughter to be living in a healthy world, and to continue caring for our earth.
The best advice you have for new fathers?
Stay strong, always ready and prepare yourselves for a brand-new beautiful life
How has working with refugee artisans changed your perspective on fatherhood?
Many of the refugees who work with us are women with children who are surviving without their husbands. Sometimes their children come with them to the workshop, and I honestly feel, proud that those children are viewing their mother in both mother and Father figure. And I can’t help noticing that with our project, we are helping them have a better life.
What has been the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is the face of clients who like our product for its shape and functionality and then how it changes “positively” when they realize that it is mainly made by hand by refugees from upcycled materials.
Waste Studio's MADE51 Traveler Pouch, created for Father's Day using upcycled materials. The design features embroidery and an oversized handle.