Inclusivity and accessibility
“Nothing about us without us” is the principle of our work. Our goal is that persons with disabilities are working in all the levels of the business and are part of decision making. Making a society better for persons with disability is a wicked problem.
Working on a grassroots level with vulnerable groups is a difficult task. From the very beginning it was obvious that as a small company can’t fulfill the needs of the artisans. We wanted to start working together with experts of inclusivity and accessibility. Abilis foundation is an non governmental organization in Finland, which works in several developing countries. Their goal is to empower persons with disabilities and create job and business opportunities for them.
Sera Helsinki and Abilis started a partnership immediately 2016 when Sera Helsinki was born. We have created a network of Ethiopian NGOs that are part of our production and activism.
We renovate workshops and educate management and artisans. For example we build ramps, so that people with different disabilities can reach the premises. Many of our artisans don’t know how to read and write. They have been excluded from their society. The traditional role of a person with a disability is to be a beggar on the street. Abilis and Ethiopian NGOs teach life skills and human rights to our artisans so that they can become active and empowered members of their communities.
The idea of our business model is that persons with disabilities establish micro businesses. They receive start-up funding from Abilis. They are able to buy for example sheep, spinning wheels, looms or other tools needed in the rug making. So the artisans themselves own their businesses and Sera Helsinki buys their products and links them with new customers.