Open-source learning platform on upcycling fashion design

Benefits of handcrafts for people with mental illness

On behalf of public tender issued by the Ministry of Work, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Ozara company is a provider of non-profit programme of Social Inclusion. The programmes of social inclusion are, of course, social programmes intended to support and maintain the working capacities of persons with disability (PWD). The programme includes persons who obtain the decision on unemployability (disability status awarded by the Employment Office of Slovenia), I. category PWD (Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia) and persons with problems in physical and mental development. Most of users included into the programme have some kind of mental health problems.


The programme consists of various psychosocial, creative and work activities which include various handcrafts (fashion design, sewing, pottery, carpentry). Making of any hand products has very positive effects on persons with mental health problems. This way, they develop, maintain and strengthen their hand skills and fine motoric functions, creative thinking, their imagination, creativity, self-satisfaction and satisfaction with their products, concentration, attention, patience, and improve their psycho-motoric functions.

Inclusion into various kinds of handcrafts has a very positive influence on the life quality of persons with mental health problems. In turn, they get the opportunity to change all their areas of life and interests. With renewed activation and by the production of hand products they can develop a positive self-image and self-respect, they strengthen their work habits and re-acquire their sense of being useful/meaningful for their social environment. For the majority of users, the renewed inclusion into society definitely represents the greatest advantage: they are able to develop their social skills and knowledge, to expand their social network and to intensify their sense of belonging to a certain social group. There, they can make new friendships, learn to co-operate, communicate, accept social diversity, strengthen their sense of tolerance and develop all their potentials they could not express in their home environment.

Due to ever greater public awareness concerning the reuse and recycling of waste materials we have decided to launch a production based mostly on recycled materials. Thus, we broaden the awareness considering the individual responsibility towards the protection of nature and environment. But, above all, we wish to give people and things a new chance of being and encourage the possibilities that change one’s personal values.