Our Year of Hope Vol. 5 - The Studio

Mar 25, 2024

For the year of 2024, the team here at Fifty Shades Greener have decided to focus our energy and efforts into spotlighting small, community driven sustainability projects from anywhere in the world that are operating on a grass roots level.

The world of sustainability itself can often be perceived as a minefield. From the enormity of the climate crisis, CSRD regulations and measuring carbon emissions, the efforts being made on the field by individuals or groups can often get overshadowed.

However, we always say at FSG, that small actions do count, especially when being carried out by many. This blog series will endeavor to highlight those people or communities who are driving REAL action.

We hope their stories inspire you, and more importantly that they spark hope.

Our fifth story features The Studio, an organisation which produces eithical crafts created by Syrian and Palestinian refugee women in the Shatila camp. 

Their mission is clear: To ignite hope, foster resilience, and amplify the voices of women artisans, catalyzing positive change in their lives and the communities they touch. They are driven to make a meaningful difference by not only empowering these women but also by generating sustainable income. They sell the beautiful products created by these artisans to the world, creating economic opportunities that enrich lives, fund their programs, and ensure long-term sustainability.


💡 Give us a brief description of yourself, who you are, what makes you tick? 

At The Studio, we are Opportunity Makers, driven by our unwavering commitment to Empowering Women and Transforming Communities. Our vision is to create a world where women artisans from marginalized backgrounds not only break free from the constraints of circumstance but rise as entrepreneurial leaders, their talents celebrated and their potential realized.

Through sustainable empowerment programs, skill development, and the promotion of fair trade practices, we harness the creative spirit of these remarkable women. We provide them with the tools, resources, and support they need to flourish as artisans, business owners, and change-makers.

The Studio, formerly known as Shatila Studio, stands today as a testament to resilience, empowerment, and creative excellence. Our story began in 2012 as a women’s workshop project by an NGO called Basmeh & Zeitooneh.

The primary mission was clear and profound: to offer economic empowerment opportunities to women in challenging financial circumstances. This simple initiative was a lifeline for many, providing skills, support, and a sense of community.

However, the journey was not without its challenges. By the end of 2018, the Women's Workshop faced a critical turning point. The cessation of funding threatened its very existence and, more importantly, the livelihood of 100 skilled refugee women who depended on it as their sole source of income.

In the face of this adversity, the workshop evolved, transforming into an independent and self-sustaining enterprise, which came to be known as The Studio.

This transformation marked a new chapter in our journey. By December 2020, The Studio had taken a significant leap forward, and become an independent entity with its own registration.

Today, The Studio is not just a workplace; it's a vibrant hub of creativity and empowerment. We continue to employ and support over 100 Syrian and Palestinian refugee women from the Shatila camp, each of whom brings their unique story and skills to our collective tapestry.

Our dedicated team of Founders and employees at The Studio comprises individuals who share a passion for creativity and a commitment to our mission of empowerment.

At The Studio, we create more than just products; we weave stories of hope, resilience, and empowerment into every piece. As we continue to grow and evolve, our commitment remains steadfast: to empower, to inspire, and to make a tangible difference in the lives of those we work with.


💡 Tell us about your project 

We work with women artisans skilled in hand embroidery, Tatreez, sewing, crochet and knitting.

We provide training for new women who are interested in traditional crafts, as we also produce hand embroidered modern products like Abaya, Bags, Home decoration and fashion accessories.


💡 What motivated you to start this project?

Back in 2012, a lot of Syrian refugees arrived at the Shatila Refugee Camp in Beirut. That made a gap in the community that needed to be filled regarding job opportunities and securing financial situations. We found the need to create a project that can provide these women artisans living in the Shatila Camp with home based work. SO we started the women workshop in order to train more that 100 women on embroidery and Tatreez (Palestinian embroidery). That helped not only these artisans to have a source of income but also helped to save these crafts from being lost during this difficult time.



💡 What results have you achieved to date?

In addition to the training that was given to more than 100 women we are thrilled that many of our artisans were able to start their own projects either as home based work (Like Sewing) or as a project that helped more women to get the needed skills to generate income. Adding to that we expanded our presence into the Gulf area and Europe. 



💡 What have been the benefits and challenges of the project?

One of the main challenges that we have faced and still facing till today is the work environment of the artisans at their places. Most of the houses in the Shatila Camp lack the source of light which makes it harder for the women to work any time. They use the light sun sometimes of the cell phones light another times in order to finish the pieces in their hands. Also we face a challenge where their husbands weren’t ok with the women working. After seeing and touching the impact this work provided to their lives, they were more excited about The Studio, and sometimes the women’s husbands helped their wives in delivering finished pieces to The Studio workshop.


💡 What would your main piece of advice be for other people looking to start projects to protect people or the planet?

We always encourage our women artisans to be involved in any stage of the production they might see as their field of skills. Like giving their advice in the design, colors, stitches and even sharing the story  of each product. That’s why empowering women as we see is not only about providing them with work but also by engaging them in the process. We advise people who are willing to start their own projects to be authentic, sustainable on all of its aspects, and to involve people who work with them in the process and hear from them about what makes the work better and better.


💡 What gives you hope?

The women who are fighting in different hard situations like divorce, poverty, illness and others. They always keep us motivated and willing to bring more and more work and to train more and more women. We have to keep it up so the women get to live in better conditions and express themselves throughout the beautiful work they do.

Thank you, Eesa and the team, at The Studio for your time and insight. We wish you the absolute best with your efforts and thank you for leading the way in positive change.

You can find out more about The Studio -  @shatilastudio on social media.



If you want to follow Our Year of Hope series sign up to our blog HERE

And if you want to learn more about sustainability for your personal life or for your workplace/ career please book a discovery call with one of our experts HERE 

Thank you for reading today.

The FSG Team. 💚




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