The Do Book Company is an independent publishing house based in Shoreditch, London. Their books are written by speakers from the ‘Do Lectures’ whose ideas have inspired others to go and ‘Do’. The Do Book Company aims to recreate that same positive change in book form – whether that’s the mastery of a new skill or craft, a simple mind-shift, or a shot of inspiration to help you get started. Plus, 5% of the proceeds of each sale will go back into the ‘Do Lectures’ to help it achieve its aim of making positive change.
Each book is fairly short, about 100 pages, as it focuses on the ‘doing’ rather than the background theory. Concise, practical guides that make it easier to ‘Do’ stuff. With a wide variety of topics and skills, there’s bound to be a book for you. The Do Book Company also has various filmed talks which can be found on their website here.
Neema Crafts showcases the skills and talents of people with hearing impairments and physical disabilities in Tanzania. Through Neema, they craft items such as bags and cushions, providing dignity and hope for over 120 people who previously relied on street begging, or were hidden away at home. Through their work, they are steadily transforming negative cultural stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities.
Neema Crafts provide training for people with disabilities to become skilled artisans from carpenters, to tailors, ceramicists to paper-makers, great chefs, or entrepreneurs starting up their own enterprises. This not only has the effect of changing public attitudes, but also raises trainees’ self-esteem, and gives them access to a sustainable salary, thus raising their standard of living.
Workshops (which have included high-level local government officials, local policymakers and employers) have also helped change public opinion on disabilities, by seeing how capable people with disabilities are when given the chance.
Currently, Neema is working to build a rehabilitation centre that will include a medical practice, therapy rooms, offices and a ward where parents and their children can stay overnight. This will support those with disabilities that require frequent hospital trips but rarely have money to spend on regular transport.
Founded in 1998, Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company that is owned by cocoa farmers. Each bar is made using ‘pa pa paa’ cocoa from Ghana – pa pa paa meaning the best of the best in the local Twi language, where it is grown with pride by Kuapa Kokoo, a co-operative of 85,000 smallholder farmers who own 44% of the Divine company.
Today Kuapa Kokoo proudly produces up to 5% of Ghana’s cocoa – that can be up to 640,000 sacks of cocoa a year!
Most of the Fairtrade premium made has been re-invested in developing farming communities and farming skills – focusing particularly on water, health, education and sanitation to improve standards of living. Kuapa Kokoo has also taken a lead on addressing child labour and is piloting a number of environmental initiatives aimed at improving productivity and adapting to climate change. So not only are profits going towards a sustainable wage for farmers but also a re-investment in creating sustainable communities.
Starting with the concept of a rolled paper bead earring displayed on a card and believing in the potential to have a positive impact, Quazi Design now creates sustainable change and social impact by transforming waste magazines into original accessories. Based in Swaziland, all products are handmade by local women, empowering them through skill sharing and a living wage.
The workshop is situated in Sidwashini, in the industrial area of Mbabane and the capital city of Swaziland. Previously unemployed, most of the artisans had on average seven dependents each, now they are employed full time with permanent contracts, giving them a new sense of job security.
Founder, Ed, started Jollie’s after becoming increasingly uneasy about walking past people sleeping rough and not knowing what to do. After volunteering at a local Shelter and chatting to some of the visitors, Ed saw a need he could meet. Socks!
Fresh socks might not seem like a life-changer but for those walking the streets day and night foot hygiene is essential. Unlike other items of clothing, socks are rarely donated to homeless shelters and fly out the minute they’re given.
Local Shelters responded immediately to the idea of receiving boxes of good quality socks and so Ed started designing and came up with a socially focused brand that gives away sustainable sock donations off each pair of Jollie’s sold. So when a pair is brought, another one goes to a local shelter.
Jollie’s socks work with a variety of shelters across the UK, including London, Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds.
Thraedable is a social enterprise that tells the stories of people on the margins of society and raises funds for grassroots organisations that defend their human rights. They do this with sustainable clothes inspired by people’s art and they share 50% of gross profits with their partner NGOs.
Each piece of clothing or accessory is inspired by and promotes the story of the creator. These could include memories of their home, raising awareness of a cause or just small moments of life. For example, ‘BELLA’ (Pictured Left) was inspired by a drawing made by a minor from Senegal during Thraedable’s workshops with unaccompanied migrant minors in Syracuse, Sicily. Asked to share a word that means something to him, he picked a word he had recently learnt in his Italian lessons: Bella, meaning beautiful.
Thraedable also provide numerous workshops across the world and their partner NGO’s work on international projects. These projects support a variety of causes, including relief for refugee migrants and raising awareness of children affected by Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), a rare genetic condition of hypersensitivity to UV light.
Elvis & Kresse was established in 2005, saving London’s decommissioned fire hoses, which after becoming too damaged to repair were going to landfill. After a chance encounter with the London Fire Brigade, they realised that these hoses were still tough and durable, but tons of were ending up in landfill. Today, Elvis & Kresse craftspeople make beautifully designed bags, incorporating the fire hose and an array of other reclaimed materials such as parachute silk, auction banners and printing blankets. For over a decade none of London’s fire-hose has gone to landfill and over 170 tons of material has been reclaimed. As well as this, 50 per cent of profits from the fire hose product range will go to The Fire Fighters Charity.
Recently, the Burberry Foundation partnered with Elvis & Kresse to tackle the even greater global problem of leather waste. This Five-year partnership will see at least 120 tonnes of leather off-cuts from Burberry recrafted into new luxury items, designed and sold by Elvis & Kresse.
“It is the material and the scale of the problem which dictate what we will make and how we make it,” Elvis & Kresse explained. “In the case of the hose, we scrubbed away the soot and grease that builds up after 25 years of active duty and discovered a truly remarkable, truly green textile. We wanted to honour this tough, life-saving material, hence our focus on quality craftsmanship and classic, timeless design. We build as much value as we can into each piece and style them for use beyond single seasons.”
Buy Rice Back is a social enterprise from My Name Is Kumar Foundation. They take colourful, Indian rice sacks from the local area and upcycle them into distinctive, unique tote bags and accessories. The bags are made by the local tailor Karthick, who is paid a fair wage for his work and each bag comes with a label explaining how your purchase has made a difference.
The money generated from the purchase of a single bag can make 148 meals of rice for the children and the foundation seeks to send as many as possible to the best private school in the city of Chengalpattu, in the hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty.
Hopeful Traders is a social arts project and clothing brand, tackling the issues that plague our society through collaboration with those affected by them. David Tovey (pictured) has weathered cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness, and is one of Hopeful Traders prominent designers.
Other designers include ROL (Ray of Light) and ANXTI. By collaborating with those who have been affected by homelessness, Hopeful Traders brings a unique range, while showcasing the creativity of the community and raising much-needed funds for organisations on the front line of homelessness.
Designers also nominate a charity to receive a percentage of sales of their clothing, allowing them to give back to the organisations that have supported them and their community.
Studio 306 specialises in designing handcrafted high-quality ceramics, jewellery, textiles and screen printed products. All their items are handmade in their studio situated in Haringey, North London. The aim of the studio is to empower disadvantaged local individuals by offering a creative space for those who are recovering from mental illness.
It is here that they can rediscover forgotten skills, develop new ones and boost their confidence within a working environment. Since Studio 306 Collective CIC is also a not-for-profit organisation, every penny made from the sale of their products goes back into supporting the project.