House of AKI-NA is an enterprise that applies social innovation to address problem facing migrants in Ireland. Life in Direct Provision (the system designed to house asylum seekers in Ireland and meet their base needs) can leave lives in limbo. Those seeking refugee status in Ireland can stay there for up to eight years, and are at greater risk of developing mental health issues, anxiety and post-traumatic stress than the wider community.
House of AKI-NA began as a collaborative project with Dublin City University Students and Irish NGO AkiDwA. They won The All Ireland Universities Social Entrepreneurship Competition in 2013 and have continued to engage with the migrant issue. Co-Founders Lye Ogunsanya and Josh Doyle started the enterprise to create high-quality, handmade accessories that Look Good and Do Good. They use their fashion to:
educate: by using the profits to run training and educational workshops for women living in Direct Provision.
empower: by employing woman via the House of AKI-NA platform.
ethically: by contributing to the fair fashion movement.
Their accessories are handmade in Dublin by migrant women who gain a far wage. The beneficiaries are not only migrant women, but also their customers who have the opportunity to purchase fair fashion. The Irish state is also supported in its efforts to integrate migrants into society. The enterprise is highly engaged with the Dublin City University student community which helps to create brand awareness The social impact until now can be measured by the three migrant women employed as tutors via workshops powered by House of AKI-NA and by the 5 workshops held with 120 attendees so far.