The Sheltersuit team started with Bas Timmer. After his two friends’ father lost his life on the streets due to hypothermia, he decided to create a garment that would protect the homeless from the cold. With a background in fashion, Bas decided to adapt his craft to work on this project. His well-known designs are easily identified by their multi-functionality.
Nowadays, the team has grown to 30 hard working volunteers, including homeless, long term unemployed and (mainly Syrian) refugees. The organization has evolved into a professional foundation, run by a management team and controlled by a board. The quality that the former employees of clothing factories show in their craftsmanship is unique in The Netherlands. With passion, creativity and a spirit of realism, the team creates Sheltersuits. The suits are produced (Cut Make Trim) in a workshop in Enschede. Situated in a former Spinning Mill, the workshop oozes the city’s Textile heritage.
The concept of the Sheltersuit is pretty simple. It is a water repellent and windproof jacket which can be transformed into a full protective suit, by simply zipping on the sleeping bag. The high-quality materials that are used make sure any person wearing it will be protected against extreme weather conditions, to make sleeping outside bearable.
Aim of the Sheltersuit Foundation
The aim of the Sheltersuit Foundation is to produce and distribute as many Sheltersuits for the homeless, whom are sleeping outside during extreme cold weather. Homeless people either stay in refugee camps or sleep in the streets in Europe. We want to keep the homeless warm, without anything from them in return. Preferably Sheltersuit Foundation distributes its products via Organizations that are involved in helping the homeless.
Besides that we offer people with a distance to labour a step into Dutch society. By offering an actual job, dignity and the Dutch language. We activate people to pick up their (working) life and get connected to a community.
The Dutch Salvation Army offers warm meals to homeless people, via its so-called Soup Buses. The idea is to distribute the Sheltersuits via the Soup Buses, in order to reach the people that sleep in the streets. This creates some questions in regard to the relationship between the Salvation Army and the homeless. The Salvation Army questions the positive use of the Sheltersuit. E.g.: does the Sheltersuit facilitate people sleeping on the streets or would they also have done that without the Sheltersuit? The creators of Sheltersuit also see a positive effect of the Sheltersuit on the relationship between a homeless person and the Salvation Army because laundering the Sheltersuit would provide a moment of contact between the mentioned parties. Both Sheltersuit Foundation and The Salvation Army would like to find out what the effect of the distribution of Sheltersuits is. A possible research question would be: What is the effect on the relationship between a homeless person and the Salvation Army, after providing a Sheltersuit?
The assignment can be done in English or Dutch. If you are looking for an assignment in Psychology, this could be the right fit for you.
Wetenschapswinkel Twente, Laura Venhorst MSc, The Gallery, tel. 053-483 6816, email: firstname.lastname@example.org