See Beyond Disability
Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality, and can be defined as "the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society."
Too often, people with disabilities are defined and judged by what they lack rather than what they have. Their exclusion and invisibility serve to render them uniquely vulnerable, denying them respect for their dignity, their individuality, even their right to life itself.
In 2015 I discovered a community of extraordinary talent in eastern Africa. These talented people were men and women with physical disabilities. Despite their circumstances, they were not looking for handouts, and did not want to be dependent on foreign aid. In fact, they did not want free anything. What these men and women wanted were jobs. They wanted jobs that would empower them to provide for their families and jobs that would give them skills and experience. Most importantly, they wanted jobs that would include them in society.
When I told these artisans I wanted to help shine a light on their unique skills, we decided to produce a fabric collection that would connect them with the international design community while simultaneously creating awareness for poverty and disability in Africa.
The situation of individuals with disabilities in Africa is incredibly complex. Due to ignorance and a lack of understanding, people with disabilities in Africa are often seen as being non-human and are among the poorest and most disenfranchised people in the world. They are isolated in their own homes and frequently go without education, medical care, social interaction and even food. For Africa's disabled, it's a life of poverty and struggle.
In October, I will release my first collection of sustainable fabrics designed in Africa by stylish craftspeople with the most incredible talents. For the luxury market, it is an opportunity to gain access to unique artisanal skills and beautiful fabrics. For artisans, the connection gives them access to a market that values their skills, and it is an opportunity to make a living.
Many artisans working with us face the complex challenges of poverty; whether they are single mothers that have escaped civil conflict or people with disabilities. Through regular income, they can improve their living conditions and take control of their lives.
Join me in promoting a world that is inclusive for ALL people.