The summer has arrived, and the corona crisis is still ongoing. High time for the Sheltersuit Foundation to also produce Shelterbags here at home in the Netherlands.
Let's take it back to the birth of the Shelterbag. Columbia: infamous due to the FARC and plagued by the violence of the drug cartels. Bas Timmer was invited to participate in the Medellín Design Week to showcase the Sheltersuit. Temperatures rise high as Bas travels across the country in 2018. His head spins from all the impressions: the landscape is so beautiful, the people are friendly, but the majority are very poor.
While on the road, Bas also meets some refugees and spends some time listening to their stories. They have no money and worse, no roof over their heads.
What these people need is a summer version of the Sheltersuit! A water and wind resistant suit that is not too warm. Together with Dries van Wagenberg (Dutch Design Foundation), the first prototype was developed on site.
Shelterbag: the summer version of the Sheltersuit
Back in the Netherlands, Bas set about further developing his idea. The Shelterbag was born! It is a bag that can be rolled out to become a mat and a sleeping bag with a hood. And zipped around those items is a mini tent.
This summer variation of the Sheltersuit is light and airy; it can be rolled out fast and packed up just as quickly. It is really perfect for ‘rough sleepers’ in warm climates, as well as Dutch homeless people during the warm, summer months.
More vulnerable people in the streets due to Corona
This version of the Sheltersuit designed for the summer is already in production in South Africa where the Foundation is also active. So why make them in the Netherlands as well?
Because they are needed there as, due to the corona pandemic, more and more people are homeless and sleeping rough. There are fewer places in the regular shelters and many homeless people choose to sleep in the open air where they can more easily keep their distance from each other.
In short: more people on the streets with temperatures rising in the summer. Sheltersuits were simply not designed for this warm environment.
Shelterbags can be produced corona free.
The production of Shelterbags is relatively simple. To make a Sheltersuit, our colleagues must carry out 120 individual steps. Logically, all those steps take place in a production line where numerous sewers work together. A Shelterbag, on the contrary, can be completely produced by one person working alone from one sewing station. That difference is reflected in the costs. For every Sheltersuit - which cost €300 each - we can produce three (!) Shelterbags.
The important point here is that Shelterbags have a corona-proof production process as they do not need to be made in teams.
1400 Shelterbags are on their way
Together with organizations for the homeless across the country, we have recently made an inventory of how many Shelterbags are needed this summer. Our conclusion? We are going to produce 1400 Shelterbags as the number of homeless individuals has greatly increased due to the corona crisis. The first batch will be ready in early July.
Thanks to the support given by the Start Foundation, The Oranje Foundation, an anonymous donor together with other donations, we have collected enough money to produce these Shelterbags.
At the end of the summer we will of course once again restart the production of Sheltersuits. It is very important to have enough of those ready before winter arrives.
The Sheltersuit Foundation is incredibly thankful for all the gifts and donations, both large and small, from all those who sincerely support us. We are in this together! And please don’t forget:
Shelterbags and Sheltersuits make a difference! They have a positive impact on the lives of the homeless and of refugees. Truly: with these suits, we save lives together.
People helping people!