Founded by Cac Lam, a designer featured in this month’s cover story, Seam The World is using art, especially the art of fashion, to bind communities together through needle and thread artistic expression.

Growing up in America, Cac’s father installed altruism in her at an early age with regular charitable events throughout her childhood. She carried this with her into adulthood, inspired further through her travels abroad, in particular during the earthquake in Nepal, when she visited the country in 2015.

Whilst visiting Cambodia, she was invited to meet children at a local school. The kids came from poor backgrounds, often being exploited by their families for profit. The school gave them a place of safety, taught them essential life skills and made sure they had at least one healthy meal each day.

Motivated by what she saw, Cac set about looking for ways to make a sustainable contribution to such organisations, especially those which worked with children. Drawing together a group of friends, she harnessed her passion for fashion to make a difference to disadvantaged children’s lives and give them hope and encouragement for the future.

Teaming up with UNESCO SEP as part of ‘The Beauty of Vietnam’ project, Cac visited schools and orphanages around the country, taking with her swathes of fabric, scissors, needles and thread and plenty of creative inspiration. She worked with children to create their own fashion collections, organised shows to present their work, and held auctions to help them raise for their schools and orphanages.

Encouraged by the success of the fashion project, she looked for other ideas that could inspire disadvantaged children, as well as encourage creative expression and teach them skills for their future. Teaming up with Chef Lucas and Chef Amine, she launched the Secret Kitchen project.

Every Sunday, a group of children from the Green Bamboo orphanage are given a cooking class, learning skills that the can use to find work in the future. The menu is different each week, mixing Western and Asian dishes to give the children a variety of cooking experiences.

Once a month, a local restaurant sponsors the ingredients and a chef, to demonstrate how a high-pressure, professional kitchen works. The children prepare a meal, and then eat the food which is served to them by the restaurant’s staff. The opportunity exposes kids to real world environments, and teaches them skills they can take with them for their future.

Other projects include Art of Sculpture, creating large scale instillations with sculpture and mural. Another is Art of Innovation, a collaborative project with Graboo bike manufacturers where children are taught how to design and create a bike from bamboo.

Seam The World’s latest venture is called Mr Rabbit, giving hope and smiles to children and helping them deal with the hardship of their lives. Handing out hundreds of Mr Rabbit teddies to blind children, those with cancer, or orphans, Mr Rabbit is a friend who is always there to listen to their secrets, sadness, pain and happiness.

Cac Lam and Seam The World teach us that giving is not just about making a donation, it’s about making a difference.