SHELTERBAG – A PORTABLE SOLUTION FOR THE HOMELESS IN SOUTH AFRICAAuthor: firstname.lastname@example.org
The homeless are very vulnerable in the current Cape Rainy Season during Winter. Blankets that are issued by various NGO’s, are welcomed by people in these communities, however, the challenge of remaining warm and dry cannot be achieved in externally.
- Sheltersuit Foundation was founded in the Netherlands in 2014 by Bas Timmer as a Non-Profit Organisation
- Concept of sheltersuit was designed following the tragedy of a friend losing his homeless father due to hyperthermia
- Since its inception Sheltersuit Foundation has distributed thousands of sheltersuits to homeless people and refugees all over Europe
- Sheltersuit is a wind and rain proof jacket with detachable sleeping bag provided with a matching rucksack used as carrier bag .This is the item distributed to homeless communities in the Northern Hemisphere where harsh winter conditions include sub zero temperatures.
SHELTERBAG – A PORTABLE SOLUTION FOR THE HOMELESS IN SOUTH AFRICA
The homeless are very vulnerable in the current Western Cape Rainy Season during Winter.
Blankets that are issued by various NGO’s, are welcomed by people in these communities, however, the challenge of remaining warm and dry cannot be achieved in external conditions.
In the S A environment, our climate conditions are less severe than in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore an adaptation was required, hence the development of the shelterbag SA.
The shelterbag is a light-weight version of a portable sleeping bag with a number of options.
Integrated into the shelterbag, there is an outer pocket, designed to carry personal belongings for safe-keeping.
Because of the environment that the shelterbag will generally be used, it needed to be more durable and capable of withstanding uneven hard surfaces, such as tarmac.
SHELTERBAG – TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A WATERPROOF AND WARM PRODUCT
In order to address the need to keep the homeless dry and warm, the shelterbag production team had to source the appropriate material that would meet all the demands and requirements for a robust, waterproof and windproof environment.
Consequently the quality of the material needed to be guaranteed and the product could not be jeopardised by sewn seams in places where off-cuts meet. This would negate the requirement for a totally waterproof product. For this reason, the shelterbag production team, struck up alliances with reputable fabric manufactures such as Cape Coaters. The materials used, are generally grade 2 quality, due to minor variations in colour, which do not effect the permeability of the shelterbag.
SHELTERBAG – START UP PHASE AND PRODUCTION FACILITY
In the search for production facilities, the shelterbag team came across an ideal production environment in the form of the sewing studio, equipped with 15 industrial sewing machines, at The Ark Place of Refuge, Faure. The original intention of the setup was to create skills development opportunities for residents at The Ark, with a view to enable them to source sustainable self-employment when being re-integrated into society.
Within a period of 4 weeks, a core team consisting of 5 qualified seamstresses, 1 trained fabric cutter and a trainee seamstress was established. The core production management team are all volunteers from a local Rotary Club and brought a variety of professional business skills to the team.
SHELTERBAG – FINDING A SOLUTION FOR SOUTH AFRICA
Going back in history to June 2019, possibilities emerged following discussions with the founder of
Sheltersuit Foundation, Bas Timmer, who visited South Africa.
The production management team immediately recognized the potential for a solution for the plight of
the homeless in South Africa.
Bas Timmer was introduced to a number of NGOs working with the homeless in the Cape Town area.
These meetings eventually resulted in the start of the pilot project.
SHELTERBAG – FUNDING THE INITIATIVE AND PRODUCTION
For a project of this nature, seed capital to the value of R100 000 was the estimated requirement. At the time, this was based on the assumption that donated offcuts and other donated material could be used. As mentioned before, the technical requirements had to be met to ensure that a good quality product emerged.
The project commenced in the first week of January 2020 following the receipt of seed capital from the founder of Design Indaba, Ravi Naidoo.
In the period of 6 weeks, including an initial training period of 3 weeks and development of a technical specification for the shelterbag, 250, high quality shelterbags have been produced.
SHELTERBAG – ANNOUNCING THE INITIATIVE 26 FEBRUARY 2020
Bas Timmer, by invitation of Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Indaba, will formally announce the shelterbag initiative at the event on 26 February 2020, with a view to getting donations from corporate organisations in attendance.
This will enable the pilot project to progress to formal roll out throughout the Western Cape with the dual role of creating employment and restoring dignity to the homeless.
The shelterbag is made from robust waterproof and light-weight material (less than 3Kg)
It is fully lined with a protective hood and integrated foam mattress.
It is flexible and folds completely to be carried with ease, making it completely portable.
The buckles and straps are hard-wearing and high quality zips are built in to keep out the cold wind.
The external pocket has been specifically designed to carry personal belongings to keep them safe.