Sheltersuit – Held van

The very first project that we are going to support and follow closely as of November 2019 is Sheltersuit. An exceptionally inspiring story by an exceptionally down-to-earth ‘Tukker’ (an honorary name for a resident of Twente). Already as a young boy, Bas Timmer saw his mother giving old sleeping bags to homeless people in his hometown Enschede.


Today, he is the one giving away his Sheltersuits. Across the whole of Europe. “We are not doing this for the money. We are just a group of people who want to help those who are less fortunate in life.” The Sheltersuit Foundation helps to create a better world in no less than three ways:

Keeping refugees and homeless people warm around the world

The Sheltersuit is a water and windproof coat that can be turned into a sleeping bag. You simply zip the sleeping bag onto the coat and you are completely protected against the elements. During the day, the sleeping bag can be stored in a special rucksack. The suits are handed out to the homeless for free. With his background as a fashion designer, Bas is constantly working on improving and innovating the shape, function, and material of his original Sheltersuit, which he launched in 2015.

Helping newcomers to a meaningful job

The Sheltersuits are produced in the Netherlands by (former) refugees. They experienced first-hand what it is like to live in harsh conditions and this gives them the opportunity to help create a better world for other refugees.

Thanks to the first 500 suits for which the foundation received funding, Sheltersuit was able to offer an employment contract to four people living on social welfare to realise the production.

Recycling and upcycling

Sheltersuits are made of old sleeping bags, tents, and other suitable material. The materials are obtained by, for example, roaming around abandoned festival terrains, where tents and sleeping bags that people have left behind are collected and given a second life in the Sheltersuit Factory in Enschede. There is a good reason why this factory is in the Netherlands. Bas: “A huge advantage of the Sheltersuit Factory is that the production of the suits takes place in the Netherlands, where we can maintain fair and good labour conditions”. (27 December 2017,

What can you do?

Sheltersuit is of course very happy to receive every donated (used) sleeping bag. Does it have a broken zipper? No problem, it is taken out anyway when they transform the sleeping bags into Sheltersuits. Please contact us, so we can arrange for a location in Amsterdam where you can bring the sleeping bag(s) you want to donate. We will make sure that the materials are brought to the Sheltersuit Factory in Enschede.

Our donation campaign officially starts from the Thuislocaties on 1 November 2019. Around that time, we will provide more information about how you can help in other ways to protect homeless people around Europe against the cold this coming winter.

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