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Ffrash is coming to DDW

Since we last checked in with Ffrash they have put together a collection that will be shown at the upcoming Dutch Design Week.  We spoke with Gina Provó Kluit-Gonesh the brand’s initiator to discuss some of the more delicate issues of using child labour.

By Gabrielle Kennedy /asdf 05-09-2013

According to Jakarta’s sanitation agency, around 6,500 tonnes of garbage are produced by the city’s 10 million inhabitants every day. Some of that is processed at a site in Bantar Gebang, Bekasi, but a lot dumped in rivers.

Such widespread urban decay inspired Gina Kluit-Gonesh to act.  She came up with an idea to involve locals in recycling some of the garbage while at the same time improving their livelihoods.  Enter Kampus Diakonia Modern(KDM), a non-profit foundation that focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating street-children in Jakarta.

Kluit-Gonesh and KDM were an obvious fit and thus Ffrash was founded.  While Kluit-Gonesh was busy raising funds to cover the start-up costs of her social enterprise she came across the designers at Studio OOOMS.  Everything made good sense and a brand with a strong social conscience was born.

Kluit-Gonesh believes that exposing street kids early helps them to erect a future – one that would not otherwise be possible.  “The point is to break the vicious cycle of poverty while also teaching a new generation how to become more environmentally conscious,” she says.  There are no age limits in Indonesia for training and education, but the International Labour Organization demands that employees be 16 and older.


“Ffrash makes sure they get technical training from Dutch designers on a regular basis,” says Kluit-Gonesh, “as well as safety and marketing training from different well-established companies. Every month all the Ffrash trainees receive trainee remuneration. On top of that KDM provides them with accommodation, food and medical care, and they are coached in their personal, social and emotional development.”

KDM strictly follows the ILO regulation and is being monitored and audited by renowned international donors.

Of course any initiative like this is going to encounter some huge cultural and technical difficulties.  After finally securing the right machines and necessary parts, for example, they discovered that the factory’s electrical supplies were insufficient.  “And even worse, it turned out the whole circuit was not grounded,” says Kluit-Gonesh.  

Conditions in Indonesia are different so some of the concepts OOOMS developed back home did not always transfer easily to Indonesia.  “They found out that the plastic bottle caps in Indonesia were not made of pure PE (polyester),” Kluit-Gonesh says.  “Instead they were made of PE HD (High density PE).  Additional experiments had to be conducted at the workshop and it also turned out to be difficult to grind this plastic. Even a heavy-duty blender could not do the work.”

The plan to re-use broken fishing lamps that fisherman were just dumping at sea was also tricky. The ceramic electric arc tube must be removed from the lamp in a very specific way.  “Educating the fishermen has been the biggest challenge, so far,” Kluit-Gonesh says.  “Therefore, we made an agreement with the local fishermen.  They receive deposit money as an incentive for each and every used lamp they bring back to the shore.”

As soon as the sales start picking up, part of the profit will be saved for the Ffrash artisans, which they can use as seed capital when eventually starting their own business.

The first Ffrash collection will be exhibited at the upcoming Dutch Design Week.

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