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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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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

WHO BENEFITS?

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. https://www.facebook.com/Sammaan.co

PROTOTYPE

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.

FEEDBACK

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.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

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.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

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

12 comments

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Comment
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Sarah,
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
Team

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?

Photo of neelum nisar
Team

Kudos for bringing back "Samman"; the trust that the 'letttuceBeeKids' (refugee children) had lost in their mothers! A great initiative which has immense promise!

Photo of Ayyaz Ahmad
Team

This is a phenomenal idea which would not only integrate a community back into the wider economic stream of the country, but also ensure that their kids are educated properly and that all of this is done in a commercially viable way. Fantastic effort! Best of luck!

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Sarah, this is a very interesting idea! How long have you been working on it? It's great that you are streamlining the line of necklaces based on feedback and I'm wondering whether there is a new idea or program that you are thinking of beginning with Afghan refugees that you would like support with as part of this challenge?

Photo of Taimoor Toor
Team

Great initiative. Can you elaborate more about how returns from Sammaan are divided between the working mothers and LettuceBee Kids?

Photo of sarah adeel
Team

Dear Taimoor, The returns are used to pay the women who are working with us. It is also used to pay the rent of the building, bring clean drinking water and food for the children/mothers, pay for our monthly outing for the children, buy seeds for the vegetable garden, buy art supplies, get new uniforms and pay the two teachers we have hired for the basic literacy classes.

Photo of Taimoor Toor
Team

Also, perhaps older students/ those with some level of vocational training can also sell products on Sammaan?

Photo of Hiba Amjad
Team

It's a design lab so I suppose it's going to involve a lot of design experimentation with accessible crafts, and hopefully work on making them mainstream while retaining their integrity! I'd like to see more products come out of samman and a variety of them! Already a fan of the safe haar.

Photo of Hiba Amjad
Team

9 designs for 9 inspirational women! Their lives should be for us and the women included in the project to learn from so maybe workshops can be held with these young women, providing them empowerment, motivation and inspiration and introducing them to the role models their work is being named after. #justathought

Photo of Afsheen Javaid
Team

Immense potential to thrive in the local context with creatively unique ideas.

Photo of Zara Farooq
Team

(y) Bravo!