Designers United is an initiative that executes projects in various parts of the world. It works with women with limited incomes to establish systems that work towards sustainable development by eliminating poverty. The initiative runs projects designed to achieve the equal participation of women in community life and conducts educational activities towards that aim. The initiative consists of local and foreign NGOs, designers, project sponsors and individuals.
Where handicrafts by themselves do not have the expected impact and fall short in bringing about transformation, educational, capacity development and integration activities are carried out concurrently in the DUI-designed projects. In our two current projects, we have paid special attention to these issues, so in addition to workshops, we have seminars and training sessions held periodically by specialists in the field. Therefore, we not only help ensure the sustainability of the business model created, but also the economic independence of women. We interact with individuals, who are the key to the transformation required to have social impact. This is why we initiate change through them.
We hold workshops 2-6 times a year in collaboration with local and foreign designers and artisans. Through them we come up with new product groups. At the completion of every workshop, women create new products, thereby acquiring new handicraft skills. After this crucial step in attaining sustainable income, various seminars and activities are organized to provide support in the areas of business management, sales and marketing. We aim at achieving the sustainability of the established model through these means.
The DUI is currently conducting two projects. The first of these is Soma Artisans, which was launched by Anatolian Artisans in the aftermath of the 2014 disaster in Soma for the purpose of achieving sustainable income for miners' families. Anatolian Artisans not only promotes traditional Anatolian arts, but also economically supports low-income artisans by promoting product development and supporting micro-business management and marketing training. The project has been implemented through the financial contributions of the Turkish Philanthropy Fund (TPF) and The Poverty Alleviation Fund (TPAF).
The second project, Palmyra Design, is implemented with TPAF financial support and AnArt consultancy. Palmyra Design, aims to help Syrian refugee women earn a sustainable income. It is designed to enable displaced Syrian women to acquire a sustainable income. Lasting solutions are needed to make it possible for Syrians, who have been forced to leave their country due to war, to go on living, to become economically and socially integrated and to meet the needs of their families and children. TPAF and AnArt was launched the project focusing also on the immediate needs of displaced women and their families in mind. 25 women have been reached through the project and have been provided with a sustainable economic model based on combining handicrafts and design.