2021: A Year in Review

Posted by made 51 Admin on

In light of the difficulties over this past year, we have still managed to provide refugee artisans around the world with life-changing livelihoods opportunities. We have adapted to a changing world to meet the increasing needs of refugees globally.

From collaborations with major brands such as Chloe, Theory, and UNIQLO, to a focus on speciality items and growing our community, we are so very grateful. 

Take a look back at all you helped us accomplish in 2021.

International Women's Day: The Tassel of Strength

A limited edition tassel honouring the strength and resilience of refugee women around the world. This unique tassel was crafted for International Womens Day by Malian refugee artisans living in Niger using age-old Tuareg artisanal techniques mixing leather and cow horn beads. 

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A Strengthened Partnership with the WFTO

When refugees flee, their most valuable asset is often the skills, knowledge and craftsmanship they once used to earn a living. It should be the case that opportunities await them in their host communities. Yet they often find themselves exposed and vulnerable, particularly to exploitation and discrimination in the labour market. Refugees are also often subject to regulations that prohibit them from working. They also encounter barriers in accessing business and working facilities. There is a great challenge in generating opportunities for refugees to support themselves with dignity and the model of social enterprise plus Fair Trade holds the key.

We are committed to finding more creative and collaborative ways to support livelihood opportunities for the most vulnerable communities around the world.

“When global companies, particularly in the retail sector, source at scale from refugee producers, they make a significant and direct impact on refugees’ lives and their families. When they do that over and over again, they sustain the impact and create a long-term solution--and that’s exactly what we’re looking for when we talk about companies making a difference in the refugee crisis.”

Mamadou Dian Balde, Deputy Director of the Division of Resilience and Solutions at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. 


2021 marked 10 years of global partnership between UNHCR & UNIQLO. 

To celebrate the milestone and to help spread the word about the partnership, UNIQLO commissioned a special bracelet made by MADE51 artisans. The blue, red and white beaded bracelet represents the brand colors of the UNHCR and UNIQLO.  Refugee artisans in East Africa beaded over 13,000 UNHCRxUNIQLO bracelets, which were used by UNIQLO to reward customers in 16 countries - customers who took action in support of refugees, either by purchasing clothing for refugees, donating gently-used clothing or making a donation in support of UNHCR.  

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A High-End Bag Collaboration with Chloe

Afghanistan has a rich history of craftsmanship, particularly intricate embroidery. Different styles of needlework are tied to particular geographic locations and ethnic groups. The hero pieces of the collaboration, the Marcie bags, feature a strap of intricate embroidery made by women of the Hazara ethnic group, a Persian-speaking ethnic group that is native to the mountainous region of Hazarajat in central Afghanistan. The embroidery for the straps takes up to three weeks of full-time work to create.  

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World Refugee Day: Partnership with Theory

In honour of World Refugee Day in 2021, we partnered with Theory, a Fast Retailing company, to create beautiful handcrafted tassel keychains to be gifted. 

Fast Retailing has been supporting MADE51 since 2020 and is in their tenth year of partnership with UNHCR. Each keychain was handmade by refugee women from Mali living in Niger, where there are few opportunities to work and earn income.

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