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This supported by iF project embodies sustainable consumption and helps socially vulnerable groups since 2016. The initiators from Brazil are planning a very special exhibition.
A creative and well-considered approach in fighting waste, linear economy and unemployment is realized in EcoFábrica Criativa Santos. It’s a public facility belonging to the city of Santos in the Brazilian federal state of São Paulo. In 2017, this project won the iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE and was honored with prize money of Euro 10,000. Flavia Neves Dantas – EcoFábrica’s project manager at the municipal Secretariat of Entrepreneurship, Creative Economy and Tourism – summarizes: "This prize gave credibility and visibility to the project among professionals related to the area of interior design, architects and the general public."
The award arrived at an opportune moment in the initial phase of the EcoFábrica. According to Flavia, much of the roof of the old 500 square meter warehouse protected by heritage laws was detached by a storm in the end of 2018. Without repair, carpentry training courses might have had to be cut back. The roof work was part of a larger renovation plan. "With the prize money, we could further invest in some new structures. Our classroom was expanded by the removal of one of the walls, making the space much larger and more suitable for both students and teachers", Flavia says.
In fact, carpentry training courses are at the heart of this project. Under the guidance of two carpentry teachers, the mostly unemployed and retired students between 25 and 60 years old learn how to produce small objects and hand-crafted items – such as boxes and cell phone holders – and how to carry out minor furniture restorations. They use only recycled wood from local recycling depots. So far, more than 60 people have taken part in the courses, ten of them are even now working as self-employed, as Flavia reports.
Since 2016, the municipality is being working in cooperation with Club Design, a civil society organization whose designers create many kind of wood objects to be produced by the students and distribute it in local stores. With this innovative concept, the EcoFábrica was further rewarded at the 7th Brazilian Object Award in 2020, in the category of socio-environmental action.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the team to close the on-site training temporarily. Already enrolled students receive video instructions. Flavia says: “We look forward to reopening the EcoFábrica, hopefully in August. For some of our students, as we keep in touch during lockdown, the courses also have contributed to their mental health and personal satisfaction.” So what is more to be expected? "Among others, we are renovating a showroom area in which we showcase pilot pieces with the partnership of Club Design and an exhibition on winning the iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE 2017."
The iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE aims to publish and support projects that contribute to our society. In 2017, EcoFábrica Criativa Santos belonged to six projects in total that were financially supported by iF.
(published in June 2021)