Low-income cooperatives in Rio de Janeiro to make 22,000 cushions for athletes' and media villages during the Olympic and Paralympic Games
What more might Olympic and Paralympic athletes need at the end of an intense day competing, besides a hot shower, massage and an early night? A pile of soft cushions to sink into, maybe? That’s precisely the plan, with 22,000 cushions being hand-crafted by seamstresses from local cooperatives to decorate the athletes’ and media villages throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“It was a really productive morning,” said Juliana Faria, Rio 2016 branding coordinator. “We always run workshops about the brand and design, but this group was particularly special. It was great to pass on to the cooperatives the lessons we’ve learnt working on the largest event in the world.”
Besides giving the athletes’ living quarters a homely touch, the work is an important part of guaranteeing that local artisans and small producers participate in the organisation of the events. “Our objective was to bring opportunity and an income to these groups,” commented Sabrina Porcher, legacy and engagement specialist for Rio 2016, who is leading the project. “We want to show the world their work and support local handicrafts.”
The seamstresses have enjoyed the experience so far, too. “I never imagined I would part of an event as big as this,” said Jurema da Silva, an artisan from the Nêga Rosa cooperative.
Now all that’s needed is the approval of the athletes, when they turn their minds to the post-competition chill-out.