The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we all go about our lives, but few have suffered more than asylum seekers, who often lack reliable access to healthcare and live in camps where social distancing is impossible. In Moria camp, formerly Europe’s largest camp for asylum seekers, the situation became even worse in September, when the camp was devastated by fire, leaving its 13,000 residents homeless. Recent events may make us feel powerless to help, but there is still much we can do as individuals. Thanks to SolidariTee, supporting refugees can be as simple as buying a t-shirt.
Founded in January 2017 by Tiara Sahar Ataii using part of her student loan, SolidariTee aims to use fashion as a means for social good. Each year, designers collaborate with SolidariTee to create stylish and eye-catching tees that are sold to raise money for legal aid for asylum seekers. This year, SolidariTee partnered with Elpida Home, a community centre in Thessaloniki, Greece, which aims to support and empower refugees and other vulnerable groups. The design was created by a group of refugees, who stood against a large sheet of paper and traced each other’s outline. The design emphasises the diversity and individuality of those SolidariTee supports, along with the importance of involving refugees in the creative process.
In previous years, SolidariTee has collaborated with Wahid Taraky, an Afghan asylum seeker and calligrapher, and Dar Al Naim, a young Sudanese artist, to produce bold, striking and fashionable t-shirts that both look good and do good. SolidariTee uses the money it raises to support NGOs offering legal aid to asylum seekers. This is because legal aid for refugees is dramatically underfunded, with refugees who have a legitimate claim to asylum often being unfairly rejected due to their lack of access to lawyers. Funding legal aid maximises the chance that refugees are able to stay in a place of safety, gaining access to healthcare, education and a place to live in safety. We believe that this is the most empowering form of support we can offer. This year, SolidariTee is supporting six legal aid NGOs working in Greece, including Fenix Humanitarian Legal Aid in Lesvos and Avocats Sans Frontières in Samos. In March, the charity also gave a grant to Kitrinos Healthcare, a medical NGO working to provide emergency healthcare to refugees in Moria camp suffering from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than £7.50 from each £10 tee and £8.10 from each £12 tee goes directly to the legal aid NGOs SolidariTee supports. This is made possible by our network of student volunteers who deliver the tees by hand wherever possible, and who work to keep administrative costs as low as possible at every step in SolidariTee’s activities. Every tee from our newest range is made from organic cotton and is entirely vegan-friendly. This means SolidariTee can do good both for our planet and for the refugees it supports – and with climate change likely to contribute more than ever to forced displacement in the future, protecting the world around us is more important now than ever. Despite the pandemic, SolidariTee remains committed to doing everything it can to support refugees and help them enjoy a brighter, safer future.
An article written by Elliott Sutcliffe from Solidaritee.
If you want to support Solidaritee’s amazing work, make sure to click here to order one of their t-shirts !