Through the foundation Tiny Miracles, Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop and his team are using modern design and local craftsmanship to make a difference in the slums of Mumbai. One of the most notable income-generating projects are these lampshades made from sustainable bamboo. The contemporary handcrafted shades offer an alternative source of income to the cane baskets the community used to fashion before they lost market demand.
Assigning themselves the ambitious goal of pulling 700 people out of poverty by 2020, the group trains community members to make a series of high-end pieces for home decor. It is their hope that moving residents from “very poor” to “middle class” will allow them access to education and basic amenities.
Two bamboo designs are available through Heykoop and Tiny Miracles that add a socially positive and attractive glow to your home. The Bamboo Diamond is a stack of bamboo sticks made by drop-out boys from the Pardeshi community. Never having learned to count when the project was started, the training process to make the Diamond required time to acquire the necessary math skills. Heykoop proudly relays that the boys can now handle 824 sticks of varying sizes.
The Copper Lampshades are created by lashing slices of bamboo together with recycled copper wire. These pieces are constructed together with underprivileged women of Pardesh. Consisting of 13 sides, the women can take each piece home to work on while running the household at the same time and assemble them later.
Tiny Miracles collaborates with Prof Asha Rane, managing trustee of Hamara Foundation and former professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. Knowledgeable about street children, she helped to establish the Hamara Foundation in 1989 and has since supported a number of projects, one of which was the inspiration for Heykoop’s mission. To see more of the Tiny Miracles line, including paper sculptures and women’s fashion by associated brand, Label 13 by Gigi and Marly, head over to the Tiny Miracles site.