Our Model

Our Model

Bringing beautiful refugee-made
products to the global market.

Today, there are over 100 million people that have been forcibly displaced by war, violence, disaster and persecution. Whenever refugees flee their homes, they leave behind their livelihoods and prospects, which are critical for self-reliance. This means refugees often have no choice but to rely on others for, typically, 15-25 years.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Having the opportunity to work and earn a living is one of the most effective ways people can rebuild their lives with dignity.

To build that opportunity UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, created MADE51, a global brand of artisanal home décor and accessories, crafted by refugees. Each MADE51 product that reaches consumer hands plays a part in enabling refugees to contribute to their host country’s economy and strengthens their ties with local society. Each purchase also represents an unmistakable act of solidarity with refugees and an appreciation for the power of the human spirit.


[Burkina Faso. Photo Credit : UNHCR/6M Productions]

Our Model

Throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East, MADE51 links refugee artisans in hosting countries with local social enterprises that work in the artisanal sector. MADE51 social enterprise partners are selected based on their proven experience in design, production management, export and marketing.

These partnerships are the heart of MADE51. Based in refugee-hosting countries, each social enterprise works directly with refugee artisan groups to create a unique MADE51 range which is sold alongside the enterprise’s existing lines.


[Egypt. Photo Credit : UNHCR/P Gomes]  

Ensuring Fair Trade

In partnership with the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), MADE51 sets the ethical compliance standards that social enterprise partners must meet in their work with refugees. This ensures that each artisan receives a fair wage, has decent working conditions and that the 10 principles of Fair Trade are met.

MADE51 understands the importance for buyers of having assurance that the goods they source are ethically produced. This is likewise of paramount importance for UNHCR: Because of UNHCR’s mandate, UNHCR must be assured that refugee protection and Fair Trade practices will be upheld. UNHCR field staff and WFTO routinely monitor workplace practices and guide social enterprise partners towards the Fair Trade certification process.


[Lebanon. Photo Credit: UNHCR/S Tarling]