I learned this morning over at GOOD about a small neighborhood adjacent to the red light district in Mumbai, India working to break their cycle of poverty. The neighborhood is tiny, a mere 150 meter stretch of concrete upon which 115 families of the Pardeshi people live. Traditionally bamboo-basket craftsmen, the Pardeshi people are finding new routes to channel their talent and creativity with the help of Dutch artist Pepe Heykoop and the Tiny Miracles Foundation.
Tiny Miracles hopes to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood, moving the Pardeshi’s classification from “very poor” to “middle class” by the year 2020. They’ve partnered with Pepe Heykoop, who set up a workshop in the community to teach the Pardeshis design skills in fashioning products available for purchase through the charity foundation.
Tiny Miracles says:
He goes there at least 3 times per year, and teaches them skills varying from welding, stitching, quality control and work ethics. It is a huge challenge to work with a group of people who are uneducated, they can’t count for example, and it takes a lot of patience and determination. But the outcome is wonderful: they are now, after 2 years, able to produce high-end design and earn a good income.
The products–ranging from copper, bamboo, or leather lampshades and paper or scrapped leather vases –are all made from recycled material. The Pardeshis repurpose the materials to craft beautiful design objects to raise their income. Hopefully by 2020 each family will have achieved earning 8 euros per day rather than the meager 0.75 they make now. Pepe and Tiny Miracles wish to transform the slum into a “City of Miracles,” teaching not only a new set of design skills, but educating the Pardeshis in formal English and helping them reach a basic understanding of healthcare, psychological and social support, and financial handling.
Their products are purchasable here.