It began in 2009 with a ball of wool and a crocheting needle in a Roma community in North West Romania where the Hungarian plain meets the Zarand mountains.
As we worked alongside the poor, listening to the stories of their lives, we were provoked by one question: How can we help to restore hope and empower people living in poor communities? DECE (which means “WHY?” in Romanian) became our bridge to helping people escape from cycles of generational poverty, developing skills and potential in individuals, restoring dignity and empowering people to provide for their families.
DECE is part of a holistic community development program developed over many years of working alongside families living in very difficult circumstances. Many families live in small mud-brick houses with earth floors and no running water or drainage and struggle through winters where the temperature can go down to -25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit).
Medication is often too expensive to afford and many families struggle to provide simple necessities like shoes, basic clothing and food.
The first DECE product was a simple crochet hat. Crocheting needs little equipment and enabled our employees to work from home which meant that they could build their work schedule around caring for their family. In 2013 DECE began to produce simple leather products that created work opportunities for men in the community and has become a significant part of the DECE story.
Our mission is to produce the highest quality handmade products using the best possible materials. We try to use environmentally friendly materials because we believe in sustainability from start to finish.