BETWEEN SUN AND EARTH: VIVOBAREFOOT PARTNER WITH OLAFUR ELIASSON’S SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, LITTLE SUN TO FUND SOLAR LAMPS FOR CHILDREN IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA.
Vivobarefoot launch the limited edition, ‘Little Sun Addis’, a special interpretation of the Addis footwear in collaboration with Olafur Eliasson’s solar enterprise, Little Sun, an NGO working to create a thriving world powered by the sun that was founded by Olafur Eliasson.
“We have come together with Little Sun to celebrate the birthplace of humanity,” says Galahad Clark, Vivobarefoot’s co-founder and Chief Ecosystem Officer. “Vivobarefoot is built around the principle of reconnection to nature. I am a big fan of Olafur Eliasson as an artist who celebrates reconnection to nature through spectacular art pieces like no-one else!”
This October, Vivobarefoot will launch the Little Sun Addis, marking almost a decade of both Vivobarefoot and Little Sun arriving in Addis Ababa.
The sale of each pair of ‘Little Sun Addis’ will provide a Little Sun LED solar lamp to local communities. This includes those in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda & Namibia – communities that Vivobarefoot have collaborated with during a decade working on the continent. Little Sun is inspired by the Meskel flower (or Adey Abeba), a sunshine yellow daisy. This flower is native to the Ethiopian highlands and appears at the end of the rainy season, in time to welcome the new year.
Lamps will be distributed from this September. Over 2,000 lamps will go to families and factory workers in Ethiopia and 4 community projects: Brave Hearts, Ethiopia Skate and Girls Gotto Run as well as 2 community arts projects. Lamps will also be sent to Kenya, Uganda and Namibia to the San People.
Little Sun’s Eliasson says, “Little Sun started as a simple idea – to provide affordable, renewable energy to people living without electricity in the form of a small, portable, solar lamp. Since then, the project has grown enormously, so that it now touches the lives of millions of students, farmers, health workers, and refugees around the world. Together we are a source of power and co-producers of reality.”
Felix Hallwachs, Little Sun MD adds, “We have built Little Sun to deliver solar energy as we believe it has the potential to power a new kind of world system. In the race to net zero, our aim is to bring the power of the sun into the hands of rural communities in Africa but since we are also an art project, stemming from an artists’ studio, we strongly rely on emotion and felt experience to inspire everyone to become agents of change.”
Dulma Clark is Head of the Livebarefoot Fund, Vivobarefoot’s in-house research, innovation and impact incubation hub. She adds, “We imagine a brighter future through the symbiosis of art and innovation. Nature shows us that everything is interdependent; unexpected partnerships can lead to a greater positive change. Igniting social and environmental progress with a regenerative, sustainable mindset is at the heart of our enterprise. Together with Little Sun, we want to shine a light on the fundamental right-of-access to clean energy, sustainable production and consumption, as well as meaningful work.”
Galahad Clark concludes that, “We help people to experience the health benefits of a greater connection to the ground below. Little Sun takes inspiration from above by tuning into the awesome power of our local star. Too many people have no option but
to live with the health damaging impact of dirty fuels. This wonderful project and partnership reminds us to feel the sun on our face, the earth beneath our feet – and together, build a brighter, healthier future.”
The Little Sun Addis launches on 12th October 2021, and is produced in Addis Ababa using all-natural materials.
Vivobarefoot was established in 2012 by seventh-generation cobblers, Galahad and Asher Clark. The business focused on the mounting evidence of the evolutionary processes of human movement and the damage to overall health caused by modern, over-cushioned, heeled shoes. Creating minimalist, ‘zero-drop’ footwear (no elevation from toe to heel) for adults and children, Vivobarefoot aims to further disrupt the footwear industry. This manifests through regenerative practices across their supply chain and through the barefoot living philosophy of holistic health and reconnection to nature. They were awarded B-Corp status in 2020, achieving the highest B-Corp score amongst global footwear brands.
VIVOBAREFOOT IN ETHIOPIA
Vivobarefoot ‘Addis’ footwear is named after the city where it is crafted – Addis Ababa. In 2012, Vivobarefoot started working in Ethiopia, sourcing wild hide leather from farmers across the country. Ethical manufacturing followed in 2017 in collaboration with Pittards Plc, leather tanning and leather goods makers with a rich heritage dating back to 1826. The footwear making centre in Addis Ababa provided additional skills training and sustainable income for local communities. The ‘Addis’ range is now a key component of Vivobarefoot’s product offering, available across the world – on-line and offline.
Little Sun is a nonprofit founded in 2012 by contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen. The organisation has helped provide clean power and light to over 3.2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who would not otherwise have access to it. This has enabled 58 million additional study hours for children, saved households $150 million in expenses, and helped reduce CO2 emissions by 800,000 metric tons. By working with local entrepreneurs, Little Sun has also helped create thousands of local jobs, and generated local profits for rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly for women.