Makers Unite bring together refugees and locals in cities including Amsterdam and Athens to co-design and collaboratively create sustainable products, using life vest and rubber boat waste material.
The social inclusion programme aims to tackle both social and environmental issues by integrating newcomers in the European community and providing a solution to the accumulated waste from discarded life vests and boats from refugees’ passage.
Under Makers Unite’s six-week programme, refugees are given the opportunity to connect with locals, build new networks and restart their lives. Makers Unite enables newcomers and local designers to develop meaningful relationships while creating products that support the circular economy.
Around 700,000 life vests accumulate on the main islands used as entry points to Europe.
Local designers and refugees give second life to life vests by upcycling them in to accessories including laptop sleeves, travel pouches and tote bags, as well as mattresses for emergency hospitals on the Greek islands.
Makers Unite say: “At Makers Unite, we make products that unite people. With a talented team of newcomers from refugee background and local designers, we create sustainable products that bring a powerful positive message of unity to the public.”
Makers Unite products are available to buy from their website. The revenue from the products and funds the social inclusion programme and provides work opportunities for participants.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea