Bringing market access to refugee Artisans

Thanks to MADE51, a new initiative supported by UNHCR displaced craftspeople from 11 nations across the world will present their products at the annual Ambiente fair, which runs 9-13 February in Frankfurt, Germany.


For this initiative, the unprecedented displacement of 22.5 million refugees is an opportunity that lies within refugee artisans and craftspeople. They support refugee artisans producing fashionable and up-to-date goods ready for sale. The role of social enterprises in host countries is essential.

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As example, crafted goods by Burundian refugees in based in Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda were supported by Indego Africa to create durable baskets by using Rwandan weaving technique, using needle and thread to wrap hand-dyed strands of sisal around bunches of sweet grass. Most of the women participating in this project have been also trained on business issues and have now an opportunity to generate some income.

The goals of the project are:

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By maintaining their skilled techniques and nurtured artisans traditions they participate in the growing global artisan economy. As mentioned in their website, “international trade in artisan crafts is now valued at over $32 billion per year, with 65% of handicraft exports coming from developing countries”. Indeed, the artisan sector is one of the largest employer in the developing world.

Beside the support these refugees receive in terms of business models, access to markets and entrepreneurship, we know very well that handmade work helps to rebuild self-confidence and works as therapy in many cases.

So let´s congratulate them and wish them a lot of success!

For more information read this article or visit their website:

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Author: Dahlia Rodriguez

Handcrafted Textile Garments Crafts & Social Change Learning permaculture and connecting to nature

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