Oinofyta Wares: Sewing towards dignity and economic empowerment

Oinofyta Wares is a small business run by the resident refugees of Oinofyta Refugee Camp.

The co-founder of Doyourpart.org and camp manager, Lisa Campbell, worked tirelessly with many volunteers and donors to ensure the 400+ camp residents didn’t just have a place to exist, but to actually live and call home.

The social enterprise was born when Greek government passed a law allowing camps to start small businesses to provide refugees with sources of income. The residents, using generous donations of sewing machines and supplies, decided to repurpose leftover tent material at the camp into bags. Each bag is designed, made, and uniquely customized entirely by the skilled refugees using upcycled refugee camp tents and clothing distributed to the camp warehouse.

Effect.org volunteers volunteered with Doyourpart.org during our expedition to Greece in June 2017. They chalked out a business plan for Oinofyta Wares, developed a social media marketing strategy and revamped their website. While the camp shut down in November 2017, Oinofyta Wares is currently run and managed by 19 refugees. It is in the process of being registered as a Greek business, and recently signed the lease on a new building. Various companies and purchasers in America have approached the enterprise for bulk orders. The interventions designed during the hackathon allow these refugees to use their creative and professional skills to scale a business that gives them a more sustainable livelihood, empowers them to start afresh in a new country and become contributing members of the Greece society.

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