WATCH | This invention is the difference between life and death for homeless people

Many of us will throw on a jacket without a second thought. But for a billion others across the world, this could be the difference between life and death.

While sketching a new winter fashion collection, Dutch designer Bas Timmer realised the treacherous reality people face living on the streets.

“My friend's father, who was homeless, died due to hypothermia,” he says.

Driven to end this pain and suffering, Timmer turned the page and began to draw a life-saving garment.

Timmer’s vision materialised into the Sheltersuit, an ingenious two-piece outfit designed to withstand extreme conditions.

The suit includes an insulated jacket that’s water and windproof, and an attachable sleeping bag that can all be folded up into a compact backpack.

Timmer uses discarded tents and scrap material, creating a product that is both sturdy and sustainable.

From the icy streets of the Netherlands to crowded refugee camps in Lesbos, Timmer’s Sheltersuit Foundation has provided thousands of people with suits to weather the difficult times.


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While the ensemble may only be a short-term solution to homelessness, it has been instrumental in uplifting destitute and displaced communities.

The foundation employs refugees and homeless people to make the garment, giving them the opportunity to earn an income and start over.

“I truly believe that if we join efforts, we can protect everybody that is forced to sleep outside,” Timmer says.

It’s not about what you have, but what you make of it. With a single idea, Timmer is shielding lives.

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