Love Welcomes is a creative social enterprise that helps refugee women begin to stitch their lives back together. We reclaim the life vests and blankets worn by frightened, exhausted refugees as they wash up on European shores.
Our team of refugee women then transform them into beautiful, handmade welcome mats (and more) that we sell all over the world. We think big and change one life at a time.
When you watch the news nowadays, it’s easy to feel helpless. But we passionately believe that love is the greatest force for change in the world, and we’ve never been in more need of it than we are right now.
Proceeds from each sale go directly to the woman who wove it, women like Thaura. All profits are used to support refugees including language lessons, computer training and transportation to things like lawyer meetings or going to the market to buy food. Our aim is to empower refugees to support themselves and their families through employable skills, providing them with dignity and the ability to positively contribute to society.
When you buy a product from Love Welcomes, you’re not only providing a refugee with a sense of purpose and dignity, you’re also supporting a family in their time of greatest need. Our goal is to raise awareness of the irreplaceable value of a loving welcome which everyone needs, especially those looking for a home.
Launched in 2017 by Thistle Farms, Love Welcomes was created in response to the refugee crisis witnessed first-hand by a Thistle Farms board member in refugee camps in Greece. Becca Stevens, President and founder of Thistle Farms, came up with the idea of weaving welcome mats from life vests as a way for women in the refugee camps to generate income for themselves.
Becca and Abi, then Global Director of Thistle Farms, spent a year developing the product before traveling to Greece, in 2017 to teach women how to weave welcome mats in partnership with a local charity called I AM YOU.
We’re excited to witness real stories of real lives being changed as a result of our supporters shopping online at Love Welcomes. As of January 2019:
- 40 women currently have jobs, enabling them to support themselves and their families.
- 72 women in total have been in employed since the beginning of the project.
- 23 former Love Welcomes weavers have been permanently relocated across Europe with employable weaving and sewing skills.
- 15,000 seats on buses to Athens have been provided to the whole community. This means the community have had access to key services including lawyers, food markets, dentists and important supplies.
- 8 new micro businesses have begun in the camp as a result of having access to markets and supplies.
- More than 5,000 mats have been created for sale.
- Another six new products have been added and additional training has been provided.
- There are plans for another 5 new products in the coming months.
This is just the beginning.
We can’t stop the refugee crisis that has forced millions of men, women and children to flee their homes out of fear for their lives. But we’re not helpless either. We can help some of those who arrive in Greece to weave a better future for themselves and their families, futures full of hope and purpose.
So each time you buy something from Love Welcomes, you’re supporting a refugee and her family as they begin to rebuild lives shattered by war, one stitch at a time.
Hear their stories. Shop our collection. Change a life.