The beginning of a story of hope

It began in 2009 with a ball of wool

It began in 2009 with a ball of wool and a crocheting needle in a Roma community in North West Romania where the Hungarian plain meets the Zarand mountains.

As we worked alongside the poor, listening to the stories of their lives, we were provoked by one question: How can we help to restore hope and empower people living in poor communities? DECE (which means “WHY?” in Romanian) became our bridge to helping people escape from cycles of generational poverty, developing skills and potential in individuals, restoring dignity and empowering people to provide for their families.

DECE is part of an holistic community development program developed over many years of working alongside families living in very difficult circumstances. Many families live in small mud brick houses with earth floors and no running water or drainage and struggle through winters where the temperature can go down to -25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit).

Medication is often too expensive to afford and many families struggle to provide simple necessities like shoes, basic clothing and food.

The first DECE product was a simple crochet hat. Crocheting needs little equipment and enabled our employees to work from home which meant that they could build their work schedule around caring for their family. In 2013 DECE began to produce simple leather products that created work opportunities for men in the community and has become a significant part of the DECE story.

Our mission is to produce the highest quality handmade products using the best possible materials. We try to use environmentally friendly materials because we believe in sustainability from start to finish.

Our Vision

01

Empowerment

Our vision is not for people to survive but to thrive. Where people find dignity and self esteem, confidence and security, where through their own work people are able to provide more than just food, but a home and future for their children. Every product you purchase makes a difference.

02

Quality

We believe there is no point in doing something unless you do it well. We take pride in the timelessness and quality of our products. We know that you will love them too and hope you come back for more.

03

Green

We have a responsibility to look after our planet. We believe our efforts with DECE clothing would be futile if we were not conscious of the way the things we do and the choices that we make affect both people and the environment. We endeavour to make environmentally and ethically conscious choices in all that we do.

04

Engage

We aim to have our customers engage not just with their wallets but with their hearts. The same is true with our team. We do not work for the money but rather for the joy that is brought on by our passion. We strive to work with more and more suppliers who do not just seek profit but who see business as a mechanism for changing the world.

At the end of the day we believe that TOGETHER we can change the world

Our Model

Empowering people to help themselves and their own communities and then encouraging them to teach others how to do the same.

Crisis Help

Crisis can come to a home in many ways and without savings or access to credit it can shake a family or even render them homeless. Crisis help can look like rebuilding a collapsed roof on a mud brick home, medicine for a pregnant mum or a sick child, or a pair of shoes in the winter. No two people are exactly the same and everything we do is rooted in trusting relationships built over time.

Training

Our aim is to help and empower people to help and provide for themselves and their families. Teaching people about services already available to them and how to access them and how to use and be good stewards of the resources that they have available. This can include drilling wells, lending washing machines and planting vegetables to bring land into full production.

Education

Education is one of the fundamental keys to breaking the cycles that trap entire families in extreme poverty for generations. But education is not only about learning to read and write it is about changing the way we think about ourselves and the world around us. It is about enabling people to dream for themselves and for their children. It is about vision and hope and possibilities. We help overcome some of the obstacles that prevent children accessing education, providing books and school materials and run after-school programs and creative education programs to stimulate different ways of seeing the world.

Employment

For many of our staff this is the first job they have ever had. People become fully empowered when they have a secure job. When they can provide for their families and also begin to dream for themselves and for their children. In this setting we can provide skills training and mentoring. The result is sustainable and long lasting change for them and for their children. Every product you buy has been hand made by someone who is walking through this process.

Do you share our passion, get involved