Refugee-made products at Maison & Objet

Available through UNHCR’s MADE51 platform and experienced exporters

Aug 15, 2018 by Irene Vermeulen

MADE51 is a new initiative, bringing products made by refugees to the market. The UN Refugee Agency has not just identified craft skills amongst refugees; they have also built partnerships between refugee producers and local social enterprises. These companies have export experience and have developed a MADE51 product range in collaboration with the refugee artisans. At Maison & Objet, 5 of these social enterprises – from Burkina Faso, Lebanon and Jordan – will present their collections. A unique opportunity for buyers to get to know these exporters, and explore the new and unseen product ranges.

What is MADE51?
MADE51 is an initiative of UNHCR, working in 128 countries to support and protect over 16 million refugees. This is the backbone philosophy of MADE51;
Whenever refugees flee, they leave behind their livelihoods, their prospects and, critically, their capacity for self-reliance. But what many refugees do retain are their traditional skills and craftsmanship, from the leatherworking of the Tuareg in Burkina Faso to the fine embroidery of the Syrians in Jordan. MADE51 exists to help refugees harness these skills fort heir own advancement, enabling them to participate in the growing global economy. By modernizing traditional skills, business building acumen, partnering with social enterprises, and partnering with trade buyers and retail partners who can source and support the product lines, UNHCR can connect refugee-made artisanal products with international markets where they are in demand. MADE51 products are not just beautifully crafted. They exude a real essence of humanity. They tell the timely and important story about how this population can be a vital contributive force within the world economy.

How MADE51 works
UNHCR has identified refugee artisans in the countries where they work, and has built partnerships of existing local social enterprises and refugee producer groups. A dedicated MADE51 team of experts has provided technical assistance and design support to develop product lines using traditional skill sets. At trade show Ambiente 2018, the first collection from 12 different countries was launched.

What is in it for you, buyers?
Buyers gain access to a curated, unique global collection of well-designed handmade products, sourced from unusual locations. They can source refugee-made products through vetted enterprises that have exporting experience. Buyers can engage according to their level of interest; they can co-create a collection that aligns with their brand and design concept, or they can order market-ready products. By buying from these sources, companies can meet their Corporate Social Responsibility objectives by contributing resources that allow artisans to craft in challenging environments.

When, where, who?
5 export companies from Burkina Faso, Lebanon and Jordan are exhibiting their refugee MADE51 range, as well as their own product ranges. A.A.K.S, Afrika Tiss, More Than Shelters, Jordan River Foundation and Waste Studio can be found at Maison & Objet hall 6 stand C131, as part of the Unique & Eclectic section from September 7-11, 2018. The companies are presented in the CBI stand, and receive assistance by CBI in developing their export skills. Nine South African designer manufacturers will also exhibit their newest ranges in the CBI stand. More about their offer here.

A.A.K.S | Afrika Tiss | More Than Shelters | Jordan River Foundation | Waste Studio | MADE51 | CBI Linking Maker & Market |

Lamps made with a traditional Malian weaving technique
by A.A.K.S from Burkina Faso
Bowls made with leather and hammered metal - an age-old Tuareg technique
by Africa Tiss from Burkina Faso
Refined Syrian embroidery
by Jordan River Foundation
Origami lamps made of recycled banners
by Waste Studio from Lebanon
Bags made of UNHCR tents
by More Than Shelters from Jordan