#LoveCoats makes life more colourful for TIGER Girls in Za’atari camp
NRS International’s #LoveCoats project has brought excitement and a splash of colour to the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. The young TIGER Girls (These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading) designed and modelled stylish coats fashioned from thermal blankets, under the expert eye of the London College of Fashion’s Professor Helen Storey, in an inspirational conclusion to this unique collaboration.
NRS International donated 1,000 metres of UNHCR-standard thermal blanketing material to Professor Storey earlier this year, following the launch of the project at the DIHAD summit. The project had the dual aim of empowering the TIGER Girls of Za’atari refugee camp by developing their technical skills whilst simultaneously giving them a warm coat to battle the rigours of the next winter.
Throughout July, a number of design workshops were held at the camp, in which the young Syrian refugee girls designed and developed their coat creations. They used their ingenuity to source a wide variety of items from the camp with which to decorate their coats, such as scraps of fabric, threads, recycled material from old clothes, in fact anything they could get their hands on to make their designs become a reality.
Commenting on the workshops, Noor Alabdeen, a member of the TIGER Girls, said: “This project taught us so much and it has really changed my way of viewing the world. We learned how to reuse everyday items and we saw that old things can be made new again. Each of our coats has its own story, reflecting our feelings and thoughts. My coat shows my longing to return home to Syria and for a lasting peace.”
An unforgettable fashion show was staged once the design workshops were completed. A catwalk was set up, and friends and families were invited to watch the TIGER Girls proudly wear and display their designs. At the event, the enthusiasm of the girls was clear, with many of them sharing their intentions to teach the art of designing to other girls in the camp. Others said that they want to use their new-found skills to support themselves and their families when they grow up.
Watch this video as the TIGER Girls showcased their co-designed #LoveCoats made from our donated blankets:
Summing up her thoughts on the #LoveCoats project, one of the TIGER Girls said: “We learnt to imagine, to create, and how to believe in ourselves. Our approach to life has changed, and I for one feel more positive about the future.”