Where we are now:
At the Dirty Girls studio, women are trained in the art of bag making.
High quality fabrics left over from costume making in TV and film productions, and the materials from life jackets used to cross treacherous seas, are used for making bespoke artistic bags. Dirty Girls works with women who are part of refugee, underprivileged and marginalised groups, including women in the refugee LGBT community.
Dirty Girls is a humanitarian and environmental organization focused on well being through creativity while upcycling materials that may otherwise end up in landfill.
This is how Dirty Girls began:
Dirty Girls was initiated in 2015 on the Greek island of Lesvos, pioneering the simple environmental practice of washing used materials in humanitarian aid; rather than the trashing and replacing policy of large NGOs and governmental agencies.
Dirty Girls used huge capacity industrial machines in three geographical locations, washing to hospital standards for people living in sub standard camps all over Greece.
Washing their clothes, blankets and sleeping bags is necessary for comfort, health and dignity. Without Dirty Girls washing them, they would often be trashed and replaced.
This makes more sense environmentally and economically.
While it cost €2.50 to wash a blanket to hospital standards, it cost €8 to buy a new one while the original blanket was sent to landfill.
Sending tons of material to landfill only exacerbates the climate emergency we are all suffering the effects of.
Dirty Girls was also using discarded (fake) life jackets to make One Small Bags – keeping that material from landfill.
Dirty Girls saved over 60,000 tons of material from landfill and saved UNHCR millions of euros.
Dirty Girls is funded by donors from all over the world: people with a common compassion for other people who have become refugees, and a concern for our shared environment.