We are YOUME Clothing, a San Diego based nonprofit that exists to renew and empower communities through collaborative repurposing partnerships. We provide school uniforms and new clothes to kids in developing countries in exchange for their oldest, most tattered garment – which is repurposed into YOUME products and sold. Proceeds fund further clothing exchanges and development projects.
Years ago we met a young boy in Uganda wearing nothing but tattered rags and were inspired to create a process that met not only the child’s immediate need for clothing, but used his rags to fund solutions to deeper, more systematic needs within his community as well – turning his rags into resources. It’s a story about transformative relationships, about recognizing we are all connected, and that our actions impact one another. It’s a story about joining together to create a better future – putting you before me.
Our Process / Empowerment Model
1. Clothing Exchange
The exchange is the first step in establishing a new partnership and is where we trade new clothes for a community’s oldest garments.
1. Clothing Exchange
We work with local nonprofits, churches and NGOs to connect with communities in need. We discuss our development process with the leaders of these communities who determine if a clothing exchange and partnership with YOUME is something they’d like to engage in.
If so, an exchange is scheduled and local children are asked to bring one piece of clothing – their oldest and most worn- to trade for a brand new piece of clothing and/or school uniform, which is purchased in-country to support the local economy. The exchange is a celebration and is often accompanied by music, dancing and a shared meal. Basically, it’s a party you don’t wanna miss!
2. Repurposing Process
Both volunteers and hired women from our local, San Diego refugee population turn the old children’s clothing into usable patches, which are sewn onto one-of-a-kind YOUME products. This makes every item unique with its own redemption story; one that goes from poverty to purpose, liability to life, rag to resource.
Our blanks are sourced from ethical manufacturers in the USA and other countries that utilize eco-friendly materials, dyes and WRAP certified labor-friendly practices.
Our clothing is locally screened in California using ethical and eco-friendly practices.
3. Community Development
The final step is helping our partner community tackle it’s greatest immediate need using proceeds from YOUME product sales. Typically, we help provide clean water, farming seeds, and school and medical supplies. Our partner community takes the lead here determining which need is greatest, and helping manage the solution to it. The process is collaborative though, and we provide advice, expertise, assistance and resources.
After the greatest immediate need is met, we empower partners to invest in drivers of sustainable growth and development, such as mentorship, education and/or job creation programs.
Keep Updated On All Our Projects & Products!
Our Partners & Projects
YOUME has partnered with several organizations to conduct clothing exchanges and empower communities in San Diego, US Appalachians, Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland, Malawi and Mozambique.
Our most recent projects included the installation and repair of water pumps and garden builds in Thulwane, Swaziland and Vilankulo, Mozambique, new uniforms and school supplies for children in Malawi, schoolroom expansions and trainings for teachers and solar panels for Kito Village, Uganda.
Additionally, we’re excited to grow our new refugee program in San Diego, CA which employees women from Somalia and Ethiopia to sew our clothing! We’re beyond ecstatic to provide jobs for refugee women in the States, which has been our heart for years!
Our partner organizations include:
Never A Neverland: Film & Action Campaign
Adventures in Missions
The Sewing Machine Project
Cross Connection Outreach
International Rescue Committee in San Diego