Conceived in a sweltering tent in Bidi Bidi, the world’s largest refugee camp in Uganda, this unique fashion piece was designed in collaboration with the Obakki Foundation
and the very people it will benefit: remarkable women fleeing the civil war in South Sudan.
Founded by Canadian fashion designer Treana Peake, the Obakki Foundation continues to grow; since 2009 more than two million people have been helped through the purchase of Obakki garments and other fundraising initiatives. Retailing at just $39 CDN, 100 percent of the net proceeds from this extraordinary scarf will go towards helping women rebuild their lives through the funding of their own business initiatives. Whether in agriculture, textiles or trade, they will be determining their own future.
Home to 285,000 residents, 86% of whom are women and children, Bidi Bidi has rapidly become the world’s largest refugee camp since it was established a little over a year ago. “I walked into the large, stiflingly hot tent at Bidi Bidi with a plan to help where and how it was most needed,” says Obakki founder Treana Peake. “I came to Uganda knowing that these women and children had fled South Sudan in the face of a brutal civil war, escaping violence and famine. I found a group of warriors. Strong, resilient, remarkable women who were determined to build a new and better future.”
Working together in the hot, dusty tent that sunny morning, they used their hands to create spontaneous and joyful art. And that art became the unique design of the Bidi Bidi Bandana, which features heritage symbols such as tribal decorative elements and cow imagery that shows the importance of cattle culture in the camp. Tragedy is portrayed through snakes, scorpions, guns and human figures but the scarf also features a declaration of hope with agricultural symbols that show how the women hope to work with their hands to build a future.