PURE FELT is on a mission to empower vulnerable women and challenged unemployed youth who mainly live in poverty stricken regions of the world. We are committed to impact their lives through our large-scale felt art commissions.
Thus, “empowerment” is one of PURE FELT`s key values and key words. But what does empowerment actually mean in general? And what does empowerment and The Art of Empowerment mean to us and how we are rolling out our mission?
Empowerment refers to policies and measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in the lives of people and in communities in order to (re-)enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting (again) on their own authority. Empowerment refers both to the process of self-empowerment and to professional support of people, which enables them to overcome their sense of powerlessness and lack of influence, and to recognise and eventually use their resources and chances.
Empowerment also includes encouraging, and developing the skills for, self-sufficiency, with a focus on eliminating the future need for charity or welfare in the individuals of the group. This process can be difficult to start and to implement effectively. With our felt art installation commissions and traineeships we are focusing on economic development, and the empowerment approach which focuses on mobilizing the self-help efforts of the poor, rather than providing them with social welfare, if available at all.
The PURE FELT felt art projects empower women and unemployed youth with the resources to rise above poverty. Empowered women and youth transform their families, communities, and the world. We provide access to temporary employment programs, to hard and soft skills transfer, internships and improve youth employability. There are three components to our approach:
- The first component aims at reducing the vulnerability of women and unemployed young women and men by involving them in the labour-intensive creation of felt art installation projects that provide income opportunities to participating youth or women, and at the same time, enhance the communities’ access to social and economic infrastructure.
- The second component is felt art project related internships including financial literacy, general life, computer, language and working skills training which component is to improve youth employability by providing youth with work experience and skills through the internships and relevant training. This component addresses the lack of skills and work experience for unemployed young women and men. It will provide youth in the usually 18-29 age bracket who have at least eight years of schooling, have been out of school for at least a year and are not working with an opportunity to acquire relevant work experience and skills through a private sector internship and training program.The internships are rounded off with a celebration and a certificate listing the curriculum of the program and the experiences gained.
- The third component consists of the ongoing provision of resources and support during and after the felt art creation project to each of our participants to continue rising above poverty in a sustainable manner. Each of our participants becomes a member of the Pure Felt Guild which gives them access to:
- the PURE FELT re-employment pool. In each new felt art commission we also re-hire at least a few members from the re-employment pool,
- ongoing online felting and general learning modules and connects them in the network of the Pure Felt Guild members, and
- mentorship to define a sustainable career path for the future and/or make their microbusinesses flourish. Jointly with our partners we create joint marketing and sales opportunities for the felting products of the microbusinesses or SMEs of the participants safeguarding fair sustainable wages.
Dianne and the Pure Felt team