The Tiny Miracles Foundation is a Netherlands-based charity set up in 2010 by Laurien Meuter and now run in collaboration with Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop and a community of Mumbai craftspeople. Working on the premise that many tiny steps make a difference, the ambition of Tiny Miracles is to lift one street in Mumbai, a community of around 700, from ‘very poor’ to ‘middle class’ by 2020. Their aim is for the local community to be self-supporting, in plain speak, afford the education and corresponding healthcare of your average middle class citizen.
Before Tiny Miracles set up their Mumbai workshop with Pepe Heykoop in 2012, this local community made and sold cane baskets in a downward market impacted by the competition of cheap plastic alternatives. Today Pepe runs a thriving workshop teaching illiterate boys, 18 years and older, how to make designs created specifically by his studio, and also a growing production team of experienced craftspeople. On top of teaching and providing local craftspeople an income, part of the profits from all sales are used to send local street kids to school in a really well-rounded program designed to foster both the skills of the craftspeople and the education of the wider community.
Pepe Heykoop founded his Amsterdam studio straight after graduation from the Design Academy Eindhoven. His interest in both design and art is a natural fit for India and a good parallel for his Amsterdam operation, where low-tech techniques are developed and then realised in India. Products made by Studio Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles include the quirky Paper Vase Cover series that has been shown at Salone del mobile Milan, TENT London and DMY Berlin. The accompanying film reveals the backstory of these wonderful works.