It is coated paper. The paper is produced and printed in India, hand folded by the women of Tiny Miracles. The lamination is such thin that it can go with normal paper recycling.
Is it made of recycled paper?
No it is not, it is FSC paper (controlled harvesting). The reason we don't use recycled paper is its looks and the conncetion with the dusty image of fairtrade shops. We don't want to have our product look like a toilet roll.
Your product would fit perfectly in 'fairtrade shops' isn't it?
Our products belong mainly to high-end design stores, museum stores, high-end gift stores and flower boutiques.
The products can easily sell itself without its fair trade story. The story is a bonus on top of its design.
Do you sell in...... (country)
We currently sell in more than 20 countries.
One third of our sales is in Holland
One third is in the rest of Europe
One third is in the rest of the world.
We can send a list of resellers if they want, ask for their card.
We ship all over the planet directly from our web shop.
Do you only work with women?
Nowadays we do so. We started of to work with men as well. That was a rather tough challenge. Most of the man are heavily drinking. Next to tat they have the habit to gamble. Only few man in the community are reliable and responsible. the women are by nature. They are used to take their responsibility for the household and the family. In the long term we want to include man as well in the project but for now we have some of them in a clinic.
How did this project started? / why in Mumbai?
Pepe's cousin Laurien used to work for the bank. She was send to Mumbai for work. After some years she wanted to do something for the most vulnerable people living in harsh conditions. She stated to bring girls to school in the red-light-district. She found a local community in this area named after the Pardeshi's.
What did the women do before the Tiny Miracles Project?
The Pardeshi's used to live in Uttar Pradesh (UP), which lies next to Nepal. They always used to make bamboo baskets to be sold at local markets.
4 generations ago this community has settled down next to Central Station in Mumbai where the were selling lots of baskets for a long time. Until.. Plastic baskets ruined their market. Plastic baskets survive after the rainy season. Bamboo baskets fall apart.
So how are you going to have and keep these people out of poverty?
At Tiny Miracles we believe in an integrated approach to tackle our obstacles.
We focus at 5 pillars:
1 educate the children
2 educate the parents
3 create jobs (for the parents)
5 fun activities
Why these 5 pillars?
We learn along the way. Neither Laurien nor Pepe had a background in this, but they feel the need to roll up the sleeves and do something. It started with Laurien who has lived in Mumbai for two years for het pervious job at the bank. She wanted to do something for the most vulnerable people living under harsh circumstances.
She sponsored Girls in the red-light district going to school. It appeared that their parents took the girls out of school because the girls had to make money. So, first of all, we needed to educate the parents as well and next to it provide the parents with jobs so the children could go to school.
After a health check, it appeared that 60 % of the children were mal nurtured. That led to the setup of a health care program as well at Tiny Miracles. The last pillar is fun activities in which we provide dance class, summer camp cooking lessons, day trips because good (childhood) memories are essential.
What you are doing is just a drip in the ocean, isn't it?
Next to the actual number of people that we are reaching out to in Mumbai we inspire people as well. We call ourselves a virus; a good virus and viruses are likely to multiply.
So do you have plans to set up Tiny miracles in other places as well?
In the end, we have this ambition indeed. It would be a pity if all that we have learned from this would just help out this community in Mumbai. We are learning a lot along the way and take our time to perfect the recipe. Wouldn't it be great to invent a tool to break poverty cycles and make communities self-supportive. Once we fully understand what is going on and know how to control all this we are ready to multiply.
Will Tiny Miracles reach its goal by 2020?
The first two and a half years were tough. We had to generate trust with the locals, and get to know each other well. We came a long way. Change doesn't happen overnight. We have faced quite some obstacles in the production as well. You can imagine that is is not the easy way out working with people who could hardly count till ten. Pepe has tried many designs of which most of them were too complex to make
Why did you start a production over there?
First of all let's say this project didn't start with the production. The focus lies in getting this community out of poverty and making the people self-supportive. One of our pillars is creating jobs. And that's how production got involved. Because our reasons for products differ from other/ regular production we make different choices to show how charity and trade can go hand in hand and can make a difference. We believe in long-term thinking.
How is it to work with these women?
To be honest it's great! The women are such pure in their behaviour; we make lots of fun along with the serious matter that we discuss. We feel that women are getting committed to the project. We are in this together. If we have a big order we celebrate this with the entire community. We have day to day contact with the staff at Tiny Miracles to ménage the 100 women working currently. We both discover about the differences in culture, the habits and stuff that we take for granted, (which we actually shouldn't). Commitment and Communication are keywords in succeeding this mission.
What is the minimum order quantity?
A mix of our products/colours with a minimum value of 350 euro ex VAT.