Za'atari action on the ground

Since Helen's first visit to the Za'atari Refugee Camp in 2016 a programme of cross disciplinary educational, cultural and business projects have been co created with the refugees.  In an age of reciprocity, these projects are as much about what refugees have to teach us as they are about us sharing knowledge. 



Who: Helen Storey, UNHCR, Oxfam, NRS international, IRD,  TIGER Girls (These inspiring girls enjoy reading - 25 out of 1200), Jax Black (London College of Fashion technician), Saida Bruce (LCF International Team) & Deepa Patel.

Why: The girls love of fashion, their wish for making skills, wish to be able to gift to others & fear of the winter.

What: Day 1 included a workshop exploring the girls own imaginations and sense of self. On Day 2 the girls cut the basic shape of a coat and then using second hand clothes, gifted by Oxfam, and trimmings, gifted by The Cloth House and Barnet Lawson, decorated their coats based on day 1’s exploration.

NRS International gifted the thermal fleece to make the coats.

Aim: Learning new skills through team work and then sharing them with others, to promote a culture of upcycling, develop creativity and imagination, to build stronger connections to the girls peers and give back to the community through the process of gifting the coats.

BEAuty Co-op

Who: Helen Storey, Elizabeth Mclafferty (LCF), Lucy Wearing (Make Up Artist), a targeted group of women who have identified beauty as an area of interest and would like to set up enterprises.

Why: To educate, develop skills, support development of enterprises.

What: The team delivered a University of the Arts London accredited short course in beauty to 40 women (gifted by LCF Head of Collage Prof. Frances Corner).  The participates received certificates and each received a make up kit created from gifted make up supplies,  gathered during a UK make up amnesty, which raised £35,000 worth of product.  

Aim: Empowerment/re-building personal confidence, new skills, development of new enterprises.



SOap & perfume makers

Who: Helen Storey, the established soap & perfume making group of women at camp, Givaudan - Paris.

Why: On one of Helen’s trips to camp, she met with a group of women already making good quality soap and perfume, but who welcomed working with Givaudan to share knowledge and create new making opportunities together.

What: Helen met with Givaudan in Paris to share the inspirational story of the women makers in Za’atari. Givaudan instantly responded with a custom made workshop, sharing the science behind perfume making, creating a bespoke perfume with the women and exploring future collaborations together.

Aim: To share and exchange knowledge and to explore a model to set up enterprises with commercial self sustaining opportunities within and beyond the camp. (other partners Oxfam, UNHCR, IRD and Unilever).


ma fashion futures project

Who: Helen Storey,  MA Fashion Futures students.

Why:  A challenge back to students to respond to the real needs, both practical and social within the camp.

What: MA students were invited to design spaces for the camp community. A number of ideas chimed with intended camp projects, Helen Storey, together with a team from Sheffield University (Science and Engineering), will try and realize some of the students ideas in real time and space. The ideas which lend themselves well to the development of informal community spaces, using the sun and wind to power utilities and create textile escapes for shade, as well as spaces for contemplation, play and conversation.

 Aim: to respond to the real needs of refugees in a live camp situation.