What we do: We host social hand papermaking workshops to facilitate opportunities for building friendships and we employ a small number of marginalised people in order to give them more opportunities for economic participation and choice. Our artisans manufacture stationary and seed tiles from locally harvested plant fibre (e.g. tulips after Floriade) and recycled textile (including denim jeans) destined for landfill.
Why does it matter? Recently a Sydney morning Herald article pointed out that a 1/3 of Australians are feeling isolated and separate. No wonder leading psychiatrist Dan Siegel describes isolation as an artificial prison. A chronic sense of loneliness can weaken the body’s immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to a range of illnesses and depression. Depression is fast becoming the leading cause of disability worldwide. In Australia, around 1 million adults and 100 000 young people suffer from depression in any given year. An estimated 45% of people suffer from depression at some stage in their lives – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men. Not only people with special needs are at risk. A change in circumstance that contributes to social isolation, comes unexpectedly – the loss of a partner, the loss of a job, a car accident, a relocation, a long-term illness. We are all vulnerable.
We have two goals:
- We want to help our community beat the devastating physical, mental and economic impact of loneliness caused by social exclusion. The first step is to change community perceptions. We believe when people from different backgrounds and abilities get to know each other, they become more tolerant of “otherness”, more open to friendship and more aware of the various issues at stake.
- Provide opportunities to develop better social skills, which could promote a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Increased confidence levels may also increase peoples employability, which in turn may reduce their dependence on health and social welfare structures. the xes
Founder: Marja Rouse
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