SKILLED SAMARITAN FOUNDATION
An estimated 100 million marine animals die each year due to discarded plastic. It is evident that action is needed on multiple fronts. One of the keys areas for direct concern is that just 14% of the plastic packaging used globally makes its way to recycling plants, and only 9% is actually recycled. Meanwhile, a third is left in fragile ecosystems, and 40% ends up in landfill.
So, how did we end up here? Cheap, flexible and multipurpose plastic has become the ubiquitous material of today’s fast-moving economy.
Our contribution to the solution
Skilled Samaritan was founded in 2012, where we worked closely with local communities in Northern India, to successfully implement solar lighting solutions, creating an impact on almost 10,000 lives.
Having spent almost decade in these villages, we discovered a major challenge of industrial plastic waste being dumped into these villages, that was being incinerated or thrown in the local water bodies, affecting the health of our people. Skilled Samaritan has discovered traditional yet innovative ways to convert pre-consumer plastic waste from industrial units as well as excess fabric waste from the fashion industry, into usable ropes,that can be woven to make beautiful products.
SSF identifies and works with women from low-income communities living in the interiors of Northern India, that have not seen or known a life beyond house hold chores, but have inherited weaving skills from earlier generations.
Our mission is revive of traditional craft of charpai weaving, to hand craft functional yet beautiful pieces and products of every-day use, by reusing waste plastics and fabrics, and recognising skill-sets of artisans from our existing project sites to create a model of holistic community development.
Skilled Samaritan works closely with women from low income communities who were never craftsmen or artisans, but have unique charpai (charpoy) weaving skills. We support these women through skills training workshops, collaborative design innovation and product development; to help them use their traditional skills to weave products that have contemporary appeal.
The SSF Platform
Each element of an SSF product is beautifully handcrafted by workers from the same village to develop a model of holistic community empowerment.
The SSF online platform is a marketplace of functional products, where each product is curated using the design sensibilities of product couturiers, using waste materials that are twisted into usable ropes, woven using traditional weaving techniques by women, around frames of exquisite workmanship made by village based carpenters and welders.
The start of our journey: Village Sirohi
Steeped in history and age-old traditions, Sirohi is an arcadian village surrounded by dramatic magnificent scenery and artificial lakes, located amidst the Aravali hills of Haryana. With a population of almost 3500 individuals living in 370 homes, Sirohi was a hidden charm that Skilled Samaritan put on the map 2 years ago when it lit the village with solar lights.
Sirohi's dreamy lakes, the fragrance of its wild herbs, and the slow crash of the Aravalis all combined for a romantic aura in the village that lit in us a unique sense of creativity.
Our focus moved to design and craft after we spent half a decade in these villages, where we hand-picked artisans from the interiors of Northern India to revive and re-introduce age old forms of weaving and Indian designs to develop products using Chindi (cloth rags) from the heart of Rajasthan and pre-consumer waste plastic from the dusty hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh.
....a combination of traditional techniques, waste materials and fascinating artisanal skill, our hope is to instil values that make talented individuals India's Skilled Samaritans!