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Ordinary plastic bags are the unlikely source material for a collection of elegant accessories, made using traditional, artisan weaving techniques. The Morocco-based, not-for-profit Association du Docteur Fatiha offers alternative, artisan livelihoods for women in situations of precarity.
In Morocco, plastic bag litter in the countryside is a significant and growing problem, while many women in rural areas continue to lead insecure lives with limited access to education and economic independence. Founded by Faiza Hajji in 2008, the Association du Dr Fatiha tackles both issues, bringing together a group of women to create new jobs designing and making a range of contemporary accessories using recycled plastic waste and traditional weaving techniques.
To date, over one hundred women in Morocco’s north-eastern Oriental region have received training in the technique, and help to organise themselves into work cooperatives. Making hand-woven bags, mats and jewellery, they enjoy a regular income, giving them a degree of financial independence and an enhanced role within their family unit. The association also provides free literacy classes for the artisans, and women and girls in their immediate circle.
Their creations are sold worldwide under the IFASSEN label, in association with leading international designers. The collection’s colours are those of the plastic bags littering the landscape in Morocco’s Oriental region. Collected by local teams and the population at large on organised ‘Clean Up Days’, the bags are cleaned for recycling as raffia, a traditional artisan material. In this way, the Association du Docteur Fatiha mobilises local populations for the preservation of their natural environment.
The project was selected for support by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of the H³ programme: Head – heart – hand.