Social missions: The School Uniforms Project View all

PROBLEM: school uniforms – Around the World

The average weekly income in many underdeveloped countries 7.00 USD. The average price for a school uniform is 10.00 USD. Many parents don’t send their children to school because they cannot afford to buy them a school uniform. This is often used as an excuse to send the children to work or keep them home [...]

PROBLEM: children’s literacy – Lebanon

In many small villages in Lebanon, children are kept out of school in order to help with house chores or go to work. In the village of Wadi Al Jamus, five women formed an association called ‘Al uswa el Hasana’ (An Excellent Example of Conduct) that runs a literacy program to help the local girls [...]

We have a solution


The result of an online competition with the students of SCAD Savannah School of Art and Design has produced a new design for a school uniform standard. We have provided the NGO at Wadi Al Jamus in Lebanon with updated professional sewing equipment. We have sent our people to train them on how to manufacture the School Uniforms. Once completed we buy the uniforms back from the NGO at Fair Trade prices. The income generated allows the NGO to finance their Literacy program and creates local jobs empowering the community. We deliver the uniforms to children in need worldwide. 20 jobs created. Over 100 children in the Literacy Program. Over a thousand uniforms delivered. A thriving global on-line community.

Field Report #40 An Island in the Storm

12/20/2011, 12:11 am
Lebanon is not the most relaxed place on earth right now.  Bordering with Israel to the South and Syria to the North East makes it an easy victim for any destabilization in the region. Wadi al Jamus is on the way to the Syrian border, but, today, its citizens are mellow and happy. Our friends [...]

Field Report #39 – A Family Portrait

11/17/2011, 8:57 pm
Some of the most influential ladies of Uswa Al Hasana come from a family of fifteen children, ten boys and five girls. In Lebanon there is a person called a Mokhtar whose responsibility it is to officially register people’s names. WAJ, the municipality in which the ladies work and reside, was, at one time, home [...]

Field Report #38 The Wilson Sisters take Istanbul.

09/24/2011, 3:17 pm
If you go back in time in our Field Reports you will see the incredible story on how Kaleigh and Kourtney Wilson participated to the School Uniform Design Competition for our Social Mission. They were chosen as winners among a large number of SCAD students by a very strict jury. The first prize was a trip to [...]

Field Report #37: Diary of a Young Reporter – Episode 3

08/18/2011, 12:53 am
“Globalization at its Best” … Which was immediately followed by an invitation to eat. Not wanting to be refuse a personal invitation, I quickly made myself a small plate and devoured its contents so that I could continue shooting. The food was delicious, but I was busy sliding around in the mud attempting to take [...]

Field Report #36 – Somalia Humanitarian Crises Update

08/12/2011, 4:04 pm
A World Concern video about the Crisis in Somalia. Source: World Concern

Field Report #35 29,000 Children Dead Due to East African Famine in Past 3 Months

08/07/2011, 12:09 pm
The drought and accompanying famine in East Africa continues to get worse: Three more regions of Somalia have been declared famine zones–defined as places where at least 20% of households face severe shortages and when more than 2 people in 10,000 die daily from hunger. Al Jazeera reports that 29,000 children have died from starvation [...]

Field Report #34: Diary of a Young Reporter – Episode 2

07/21/2011, 9:42 pm
“Globalization at its Best” We parked against a cinder block-gray wall within the windy network of small town roads. Everything was gray and dusty, and we piled out of the van like a rainbow. First the Turkish contingent: Ebru in a deep blue blouse, Attila in a faint yellow blazer and striped polo-shirt, and Burak [...]

Field Report #33: Diary of a Young Reporter – Episode 1

07/14/2011, 8:12 pm
“Globalization at its Best” The drive from Beirut to Wadi Al Jamus is quite a feast for the eyes. I had made the trip the day before with Burak, my traveling buddy, but our driver was more reckless than a New York City cabby on a hot summer day. One scarcely has time to enjoy [...]

Field Report #32 Fnaidek, Lebanon. An Environmental Disaster in the Making !

07/04/2011, 6:16 am
We were wondering why every time we asked about water in Wadi al Jamus, everybody said water was so polluted that it was almost unusable and they all pointed up the mountain. We asked Annamaria Laurini, the UNICEF Representative, and she told us the problem originated in the small village of Fnaidek up the mountain. [...]

Field Report #31: An Emotional and Funny Moment in Wadi Al Jamus

06/20/2011, 3:20 pm
Mrs. Hajjeh Khadijeh Assaad, leader of the NGO in Wadi al Jamus, delivers the first invoice to Mrs. Karakoc, from Orta Blu, for the first batch of uniforms manufactured for the Lebanese Schools. Mrs. Assaad is between laughter and tears as she sees her dreams of restoring the literacy program come true. Some language difficulties [...]

Field Report #30: Six People Killed in Clashes Near Wadi Al Jamus

06/18/2011, 4:27 am
Tripoli, Lebanon. Yesterday, after prayer time, clashes erupted between opposing factions caused by a demonstration against the Syrian Government. Six people are reported killed and many wounded. Tripoli is only twenty minutes away from where we run the Social Mission in Wadi al Jamus. Hopefully all our friends are safe. The area surrounding Tripoli has [...]

Field Report #29: Self-Empowered Women in Lebanon

06/10/2011, 9:24 pm
Like the ladies of Al Uswa al Hasana, Lebanese women are empowering themselves in other fields. Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki Puts Women in Forefront By JENNY BARCHFIELD Associated Press CANNES, France May Lebanese director-actress Nadine Labaki proves all those who insist there are no strong female voices in the Arab world wrong with “Where Do We [...]

Field Report #28: A Feast of Middle Eastern Food

06/07/2011, 4:17 am
Oh boy ! When we said: “Can you arrange for some finger food to be served at the ceremony?”, we had no idea we would unleash such a feast!!! It was some of the best local food we have had and, yes, food is a great unifier. All of the sudden the ‘stiffness’ was gone and [...]

Field Report #27 The Official Delivery of the First Uniform

06/01/2011, 3:21 am
There were official speeches, some laughter, Joumana translating from English into Arabic like a pro, kids impatient and shy of the cameras … Then the first uniform was officially delivered to the Municipality of  Wadi Al Jamus. It was a sweet, informal moment.  A few tears of commotion. Many months of hard work come to [...]

Field Report #26: Walking Around the Streets of Wadi Al Jamus

05/26/2011, 1:13 am
The Orta Blu Team walks around Wadi al Jamus and visits the old sewing facility that has now become the place were students are tutored. Atilla seems thrilled by the outcome of the field trip and poses together with the Italian Cooperation Representative, Mr Benevento, and some of the ladies from the program. Ebru makes [...]

Field Report #25: Over 250 School Uniforms Ready to be Delivered to Public Schools!

05/17/2011, 11:27 pm
STAGE ONE of the School Uniforms Social Mission ACCOMPLISHED! A small but emotional Ceremony in Wadi al Jamus celebrated the delivery of the first batch of 250 uniforms manufactured by the local NGO “Al Uswa al Hasana” and designed by SCAD Students Kaleigh and Kourtney Wilson. Representatives from UNICEF, Orta Blu, The Italian Cooperation, The [...]

Field Report #24: Meeting on the Field. This is Why it Works.

05/13/2011, 5:38 pm
During the ceremony for the delivery of the first 250 School Uniforms manufactured by the Women Association in Wadi al Jamus, Mr. Atilla Kyiat, General Manager of Orta Blu, meets Mrs. Annamaria Laurini UNICEF Representative for Lebanon. Engaging our team on the field and working side by side with the UNICEF team has been an [...]

Field Report #23: Rock the Training!!!

05/11/2011, 9:38 am
More live images of the Orta Blu team training the ladies at the Women Association in Wadi al Jamus in the making of the UNICEF School Uniforms. Tomorrow is a day for celebration in Wadi al Jamus as the Women Association is ready for the first delivery of the uniforms to local schools. Stay tuned [...]

Field Report #22 Savannah Morning News

05/09/2011, 9:48 pm
The Savannah Morning News announces in a nice detailed article how our two SCAD students, Kourtney and Kaleigh Wilson won the School Uniforms Design Contest. The uniforms are manufactured in a small facility by the Women Association in the village of Wadi al Jamus in Northern Lebanon. Tomorrow the first batch of uniforms will be [...]

Field Report #21 Training Day at Wadi al Jamus

04/27/2011, 5:57 am
The Orta Blu Team traveled again to Wadi al Jamus in Northern Lebanon for a very intensive day of training on the new machines. Mrs. Turk and Mr. Baykaldi from Orta Blu were joined by Mrs. Dacache from UNICEF and helped the Women Association members understand and test the most efficient workflow to manufacture the uniforms. It [...]

Field Report #20 A message from Gloria Baume, fashion Director of Teen Vogue, New York

04/11/2011, 9:29 am
Congratulations to all the students that participated in the competition you all did an outstanding job!! Your ideas were so clever, creative and insightful. Just taking part in this great competition and putting your best ideas forward on issues that are so important and global makes you all winners. To kaleigh and Kourtney Wilson and [...]

Field Report #19 Life in Wadi el Jamus

04/08/2011, 3:16 pm
A short slideshow of children playing in the streets and a couple of landscapes of Wadi el Jamus so you can see where it is all happening. The running water in the village cannot be used for anything but cleaning and doing laundry because it’s heavily polluted. Even washing oneself can be risky. Water management, [...]

Field Report #17 A message from Valentino’s Designers

04/06/2011, 9:39 pm
To Kaleigh and Kourtney Wilson, Ashley Austin and Joshua Lacey and Lara Sims, winners of the School Uniforms Design Competition, CONGRATULATIONS on the success of your projects! It is great to see how young and talented design students such as yourselves apply your skills to today’s world issues. Best of luck! Maria Grazia Chiuri & [...]

Field Report #16 Working Hard to STAY in school.

04/05/2011, 1:03 pm
Students dropout rates are 3 to 4 times bigger in rural areas. Often children are needed for house chores or they are simply put to work. The ‘isolation’ of rural areas, old traditions, and the generic lack of information slows social progress. Literacy programs like the one managed by the Women Association in Wadi al Jamus [...]

Field Report #15 More happiness about the project back in Wadi Al Jamus

04/05/2011, 11:15 am
SCAD students are not the only ones sparkling with happiness … back in Wadi al Jamus the founders of the Literacy Program supported by UNICEF are celebrating taking some group pictures. *’source: kodezero/ortablu team’*

Field Report #14 Video message from Kaleigh and Kourtney Wilson winners of 1st Prize in the Design Contest

04/05/2011, 10:34 am
Finally !!! We have word from the Wilson Sisters’ Team. What a great win that was. There was something special about their design. They managed a strong sense of style in a functional design. Well done. We are all dying to see the finished product. Go to the design contest home to see their work . http://www.ortablu.org/school-uniform-design-contest “source: ortablu team”

Field Report #13 Getting accustomed to the new equipment and.. the web

04/05/2011, 10:19 am
‘ The members of the Women Association take a first look at their new sewing equipment. Those instruction sheets look mighty complex. This new equipment will allow the WA to manufacture the uniforms from scratch in an effective way. The older equipment will be used to train new workers as needed. Ortablu has created a [...]

Field Report #12 Video Message from Ashley Austin and Josh Lacey winners of the 2nd prize

04/04/2011, 12:20 pm
Ashley Austin and Josh Lacey came 2nd in the Design Contest. A handfull of points from the 1st. It was indeed a tight race. This speaks for the quality of the work in this contest. Congratulations and thank you again for participating. *”source: kodezero”*

Field Report #11 Some students celebrate, but others back in Lebanon …

04/04/2011, 3:35 am
As we receive video messages from the winning students at SCAD … back in Wadi al Jamus some of the 80 students enrolled in the literacy program are hard at work … *source: kodezero*

Field Report #10 Lara Sims comments on winning 3rd Prize

03/30/2011, 9:55 pm
Lara Sims sent us a video comment on winning the 3rd prize in the School Uniforms Design Competition. Thank you Lara and Congratulations again.

Field Report #9, Wadi Al jamus: a Visit at the Mayor’s home.

03/26/2011, 1:58 am
The Mayor knew we were in town and invited us for tea. He expressed support for the initiative and talked to us about the hardship of running a village in poverty and with a very small government budget. He made us taste the local Olive Oil and explained how it’s sold in bulk at a [...]

Field Report #8,Wadi al Jamus,Lebanon: New Sewing Machines!

03/25/2011, 9:10 pm
The new sewing machines donated by Orta Blu are being delivered at the new Women Association facility in WAJ. This equipment will allow an optimized workflow in the manufacturing of the School Uniforms.  It is a great honor to be able to collaborate with UNICEF in the development of their program. We hope we’ll be [...]

Field Report #7, Wadi al Jamus, Lebanon: a student focused on her work

03/23/2011, 11:27 pm
One of the students in the Women Association dro-out recovery program at Wadi al Jamus. Already 80 children are attending the program sponsored by UNICEF Lebanon.

Field Report #6, Wadi Al Jamus, Checking out the SCAD Students Designs

03/22/2011, 8:17 pm
Ebru Karakoc from the Orta Blu Team and  Danielle Daccache from UNICEF Lebanon show all the designs of the SCAD students that participated in the contest to the women of the ‘Al uswa el hasana’ group in Lebanon. We are a few hours away from the declaration of the official winners of the competition. We [...]

Field Report #5, Shatila Refugee Camp, Lebanon: school children

03/02/2011, 6:53 pm
A group of children walks home from school in the Shatila refugee Camp. This image clearly shows the abismal conditions of the camp. Link to the UNRWA page: http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=142 Link to short doc about the children in Shatila taking pictures of their every day life: http://vimeo.com/10102789

Field Report #4, Burj El-Barajneh Camp, Lebanon: Student

02/25/2011, 10:45 pm
A student in Burj El-Barajneh Camp, Beirut: The Camp is located in the southern suburb of the Lebanese capital Beirut. Built in 1948, it hosts 3,700 families. These families are composed of five to six members on average. The economic situation is very hard. The housing conditions are also very poor due to dampness. There [...]

Field Report #3,Wadi al Jamus, Lebanon: Women Association Interview

01/24/2011, 11:52 am
On a recent UNICEF mission to Beirut, writer Pietro Grossi and filmmaker Luca Babini meet with the Women Association in the village of Wadi Al Jamus who runs a UNICEF sponsored literacy program. Amira Alameddine, from UNICEF Beirut, translates from Arabic the answer to the question: ‘How did it all started’

Field Report #2, Wadi al Jamus, Lebanon: A Smart Response

01/24/2011, 11:51 am
After a long conversation about giving young girls a proper education without upsetting social and religious balances,Khadijeh Asaad, the Director of the Women Association, answers a tricky question in a smart way: ‘Is Religion more important than Education?’

Field Report #1, Kaisery, Turkey: Picking Denim

01/24/2011, 11:51 am
The Orta Blu team choose what denim is best to make the uniforms. Many variables like heat, rain season, dust, mud, extended rough usage, are to be taken into account. In the end an 8oz denim finished with an advanced treatment  exclusive to Orta Blu (Alchemy One) will be chosen.