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Customizando, facilitating the social integration of women into the world of work through creative design and artisan garments

21 juin 2017 English ] [ français ]

The textiles sector is one of the most globalized industries and the relocation of its production to developing countries has been accompanied, far too often, by a lack of respect for labour and even human rights. The cooperative, Customizando S. Coop. Mad, which is a “cooperativa de Integración Social” (Social Integration Cooperative, the equivalent of a type B social cooperative), was created in September 2016 with the aim of facilitating the social integration of its members into the world of work by enabling them to work in creative design and the customization of artisan garments. Customizando also works on issues such as awareness-raising, promoting collective self-employment, vocational training and empowerment.

The project was initially started by six women and a further five have now joined them. Out of their 40 hour working week, they devote 34 hours to production and 6 hours to training. Each member chooses a skill they wish to learn and shadows the person responsible for that task so that they are eventually able to perform that skill themselves. From a legal point of view, they are allowed to retain this status for three years, at the end of which they can become full-fledged workers within the cooperative, find a job on the open market or establish their own company.

The cooperative enjoys the support of FAMYLIAS : Resources for the Diversity Company S. Coop. Madand is run on a one person one vote system. Furthermore, all of the members learn about cooperative management by shadowing the members of the promoter cooperative, FAMYLIAS. “Our goal is to be a space for employment and training for women seeking to gain qualifications in the textile design, production and marketing sector. We have a dual objective : to manufacture quality garments and to improve the qualifications of its members”, says a member of the cooperative.

CECOP met Customizando in May, during a fact-finding mission on social economy enterprises organized by the Social Platform, the largest network of civil society organisations working in the social sector, held in Madrid (Spain). CECOP also took part in the “Social Economy, an enterprise model for the future of Europe” conference at which a manifesto was signed to reaffirm and restate the importance of the role played by social economy enterprises in boosting economic growth in Europe.