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Who’s Who: Meet our very own social entrepreneur!

If you didn’t read the last Bio blog then go back and read it! When you do you will gather that we are blogging to introduce to you some of our wonderful volunteers.

This weeks Bio comes from Mouod Ghaffarkhani, a 34-year-old engineer from Tehran, Iran—

Mouod is probably one of our most interesting partners at visioneers e.V., he has a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and is fluent in English after studying it for just four years—but what makes him really interesting is his love for crafts and design. It was about five years ago when Mouod walked into a store in Iran that was selling leather goods like bags, and wallets. He saw this one particular bag that was very little and, “very ugly,” he said, but it was also very expensive. He examined the bag and naturally thought, “I can do this better.”

So he set out to learn how to work with leather. He began by buying some small pieces of leather, needles, and thread without even knowing the first thing about leatherwork! The needles broke because the leather was tough, but he eventually pieced together a small leather case for his hard drive. After a while he learned that he needed to poke holes in the leather first to sew properly. Through trial and error, Mouod slowly developed his own way of working leather. He says that the way he does the craft is entirely different from “traditional” leatherworkers because he taught himself from scratch. However, he boasts that it is so simple that anyone can do it without special equipment or expensive supplies—and that’s the best part! Eventually, a cousin of his in Iran introduced him to a famous fashion designer, who offered him work as a leather-crafting instructor at a salon in Isfahan, Iran. Later, he moved to Tehran where he wanted to attend Tehran Fashion Institute to learn more about fashion and design, but was rejected because it was an institute for women. Fortunately, he was instead offered a job as a leather instructor there! You can imagine that he got pretty good at the craft!

To make a long story short, Mouod fled Iran about a year ago, eventually meeting an elderly American volunteer at the Macedonia border who was very kind to him. After moving to Berlin and trying to settle in for almost seven months, Mouod felt lonely and disconnected without friends or a place to pass the time. He finally emailed the American volunteer he met seven months back and asked for some advice, that’s when he was introduced to visioneers e.V. founder, Natascha Tepaß and got involved with visioneers e.V.

Mouod was very interested in the type of work visioneers e.V. does—especially the idea of creating a social network for other refugees who also once felt alone. He first got involved with our mentoring program, and later felt like he wanted to do more and actually cooperate with visioneers e.V. to somehow help more refugees, like him, integrate in a positive social atmosphere. This is when Natascha came to him and offered him to run a leather workshop at visioneers e.V.

For Mouod, the idea behind the leather workshop is to teach people something very simple that they can do at home either for themselves or to make a profit, without investing too much money. He especially likes the idea of teamwork and getting a bunch of people involved together. For Mouod, it is a community of people uniting through art, and its very beautiful. He says that it’s fun, economically sustainable, and, “everyone can do a little art!”

The leather workshop was seeded in September and has produced a number of unique leather crafts made personally by Mouod and his students. Mouod himself makes the designs (that’s his favorite part) and then teaches the craft to his students. The goods range from a cute red leather satchel to pretty little wristbands of every color you can think of! He makes belts, bags, key chains, iPod cases, wallets, and watches as well! He calls his unique enterprise is Artmond, and you can find his leather crafts on visionees’ online store here. Also be sure to check out visioneers e.V. website to learn more about our leather workshops as well as other workshops and activities we run and how you can support us!

You can purchase his leather itens here:

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