Me.reka seeks partners to empower social textile movement

By Me.reka

Biji-biji Initiative and Me.reka have collaborated with a community of partners to initiate a Covid-19 relief effort.

Phase 1 of this initiative saw success in distributing over 24,670 face shields, 1505 aerochambers, and 58 patient isolation boxes to 75 frontline organisations across Malaysia. 

The Ministry of Health publicly cited on April 13, the increasing demand for PPEs such as face shields and medical gowns. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah requested for community initiatives to continue efforts in donating to the MOH.

We have currently received requests from 36 frontline organisations in need of over 60,000 PPE scrub sets. A community of over nine social enterprises (appendix 1) has banded together to mobilise this effort by engaging with over 100 local makers.

Social Textiles is a collective of social impact organisations utilising a decentralised production platform to tackle the increasing demand of PPE scrub sets during this fight against Covid-19. 

The initiative is made possible through a consolidation of production partners and makers, consisting of impact-focused individuals, organisations and communities.

Social Textiles comprises sew x dignity, Suri Lifestyle, Tanoti Crafts, Batik Boutique, Earth Heir, MyFund Action, Setia, Taylor’s Me.reka Makerspace and Biji Biji Ethical Fashion. The sense of synchronicity felt amongst the social enterprises, corporate organisations and Malaysian communities is a testament to achievable and streamlined impact creation. 

The community-centric initiative aims to engage and mobilise various players, from producers and suppliers to logistics providers, designers and much more.

The platform utilises an open-source methodology where a sharing of designs, knowledge, resources, and expertise,  allows for the community to leverage from the communal capacity to maximize production efficiency. 

The initiative is able to activate communities across the nation to contribute to a network of shared impact creation. 

Phase 1 of our Covid-19 initiative saw us utilise an NGO model of production whereby we acquired public donations to help fulfill PPE requests. As we continue this initiative, financial sustainability must be considered. Thus the Social Textiles movement will incorporate a Social Enterprise (SE) Model.

The model prioritises the people and planet that it affects, while also taking into consideration business sustainability. The earnings in a social enterprise allow the organisation to provide for its stakeholders while also maintaining the longevity of its primary goal, social impact. 

The Social Textiles movement looks to produce more PPEs for frontliners with the help of local Malaysian craftsmen. The production model aims for the following:

  1. Empower local communities by creating livelihood opportunities, especially in such economic times, 
  2. Create engaging micro-economies that stimulate and ensure the business sustainability of local organisations and social enterprises
  3. Deliver PPEs to frontline organisations
  4. Maintain transparency in product costing and delivery fulfillment as means of self-governance and accountability. 

 

The initiative is actively seeking corporate sponsorships to help fuel the production. Corporate donors are able to pledge a quantity of PPE Scrubs Sets to be produced.

Social impact tracking measures will be in place to ensure corporates are provided with complete impact reports which measure and indicate the extent of the impact and goodwill that came from the sponsorship. (Detailed breakdown along with a cost visualisation is provided in Appendix 2)

Normalised Costing Percentages

30%
Individual Producer (maker) 25%
Production Managers (Creative hub/Social Enterprise) 25%
Admin, Design & Hospital fulfillment, Supplier coordination 15%
Sterilisation 3%
Logistics 3%

 

The initiative is possible only through the support of companies and corporates joining together to achieve a communal goal. As of April 21, Fibertex Personal Care have provided material sponsorship for the first 7,191 sets of PPE scrub (RM13.50 material cost per set). Being the largest local nonwoven fabric manufacturer for the hygiene industry, Fibertex Personal Care repurposed their facilities to produce nonwoven fabric for the medical industry to support the urgent need of our frontliners.

This initiative is very grateful for the support from Fibertex Personal Care without which it would not have been possible to make these PPE scrubs. The assistance provided by Fibertex Personal Care is a testament to Malaysian solidarity. Their responsiveness in such times is an indicator of the sense of camaderie and community that is built in times of adversity.

The partnership allows us to price the PPE Scrubs Set at only cost, RM 28 per set. Currently, our production capacity is between 4,000 – 6,000 units per week. To date, we have provided 3,000 units of PPE to public hospitals. 

The intrinsic value of the corporate sponsorships is exponentially increased through the impact that each sponsorship creates.

A sponsorship of RM 100,000 is able to unlock compounding impact, resulting in RM 24,090 of value directly to the hands of individual tailors, RM 24,090 of value directly to local social impact organisations and upwards of RM 100,000 of CSR value for the benefit of the Corporate. 

Social textiles products are made by a community, not a factory. The funds provided directly contribute to the wellbeing of a multitude of families and households that are otherwise affected by the current shift in work.

Many households are left without a flow of income due to the shutdown of brick and mortar businesses and activities. The nine social impact organisations within the Social Textiles movement will go on to further mobilise 100 makers from within Malaysian communities, allowing these individuals to earn and provide for their families.

The business model ensures that 25 percent of proceeds from each sale go to the individual maker. 

Active participation in this production initiative directly contributes to the impact of creating meaningful opportunities, equipping under-utilised resources, and creating an engaging and thriving economic atmosphere through sustainable and ethical practices. 

More information can be found here.

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