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LettuceBee Empowered | Sammaan A Mindful Design Studio

Train and economically empower the mothers by giving right design direction to their existing skills and creating marketable products.

Photo of sarah adeel
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Afghan Refugee Women in Pakistan. Sammaan was organically born while LettuceBee Kids was trying to cater to its biggest challenge. To keep Afghan trash picking children off the street - yet sustain their daily income stream, we decided to economically empower their mothers through various marketable design experiments and products.


Sammaan is a blend of many heartfelt experiments and art projects that aim at improving lives of those who create them, and those who use them. Sammaan has been operative for the past 16 months and we have worked with more than 150 afghan refugee women in Islamabad, federal capital area. The idea was tested by creating necklaces made out of inexpensive safety pins and glass beads. Women were give certain designs and later, the necklaces were assembled and packaged. We tested the market by creating a minimum viable product, named and displayed it at a local crafts market and at our annual exhibition in Pakistan and Paris. It happened to be a big hit, we ran out of the stock and got many new orders. The safety pin necklaces has become one of our signature product. We keep experimenting with new ideas with various mediums like leather, natural dyes and fabric.


After creating one too many random necklace designs, we are not launching a new series of 9 necklaces, named after 9 important women of the world who changed history. It happened because of the our client's feedback as we were having a hard time keeping a track of the designs and supply chain also became very difficult to manage. Now this fixed series will be easy to manage, replicate and market.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

We can use help with taking our design products in the international market to promote these women and the traditional craft. the aim is to retain the integrity of our rich culture, art, language and convert it into contemporary products so we can enjoy it again through its form, identity and compositions. The skills/expertise I can share is design/visual thinking due to my educational background and extensive experience of working in the field. I can convert an idea into a product that sells.


I am a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design. My research project explored family and community structures, examining how a prosperous social structure takes physical form through design. I am a 2012 iCats Fellow with LGTVP, Switzerland and 2014 Acumen Fellow. I am currently working in Pakistan.


  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.


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Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Very nice! I love that you are empowering the mothers, giving them employment, which allows their children to participate in your discovery programs. Have you considering selling the jewelry on Etsy?
Love the idea to name the necklaces after women from history!!

As you are working with a group of women I wonder if this might also be an opportunity to empower them with financial skills. Are there any opportunities for these women to save part of their earnings?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Sarah. I have a few questions to learn more about this great program and the community.
Do the women in this program all have children in LettuceBee Kids, or is it open to any Afghan woman refugee in the area? Is the design studio adjacent to the community, in the same area as the children's programming?
Is this refugee community long standing? Do the people in the community you are working with hope to return to Afghanistan in the future?
Are the men in this community working?

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