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LUV Seat: Giving Back Globally

rbarry Employee
Employee


This summer, Southwest Airlines announced the LUV Seat: Repurpose with purpose program, a global initiative to upcycle 43 acres of leather seat covers that were removed when we retrofitted our aircraft.  We knew we didn’t want to just discard it in a landfill or shred it, and thus, the LUV Seat journey began.  We called on Employees and Customers to help us find organizations that could turn the seats that once carried our Customers from place to place into beautiful new products, all while making a positive difference in the world.  We are proud to announce that our collaborators in the LUV Seat program have done just that!  This week, we successfully distributed hundreds of leather soccer balls and shoes in Nairobi, Kenya.  The Kenya distribution completes the second phase of this impactful, multi-year program. LUV Seat3 In Nairobi, nonprofits SOS Children’s Villages Kenya, Alive & Kicking, Maasai Treads and Life Beads Kenya have provided vocational and skills training for young adults and community members by making shoes, soccer balls, backpacks, wallets, and make-up bags from the used leather.  Young adults, ranging in age from 17 to 22, from SOS Children’s Villages Kenya apprenticed in leather works and produced 2,100 pairs of shoes with the local sustainable shoe company Maasai Treads. The shoes are being donated to SOS villages and Ahadi Trust as part of an anti-jigger campaign, and to Cura Orphanage, a residence for children who have lost their parents to AIDS. IMG_4918 These young adults also learned how to hand-stitch 1,000 soccer balls with partner Alive & Kicking.  In addition to making soccer balls, Alive & Kicking uses sports education campaigns to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and Malaria prevention.  Kenya-based GoodMakers Films and the Gina Din Foundation are at the helm of managing the project in Kenya and were instrumental in bringing the diverse organizations together.   Additionally, Creative Visions Foundation was an invaluable resource in getting the LUV Seat program off the ground. In the U.S., Southwest Airlines partnered with LooptWorks, a domestic upcycling company, to create high-quality duffle and tote bags, which provided skills training by creating jobs for disabled adults. Each LUV Seat bag by Looptworks saved more than 3,000 gallons of fresh water and will be available for sale to the public starting this month (http://looptworks.com/LUV/).  Enter promo code LUVSEAT to receive a 20 percent discount.  Additionally, a limited number of the soccer balls produced by Alive & Kicking will be for sale at the Freedom Shop (www.swafreedomshop.com) in the near future. To learn more about the LUV Seat program, please visit http://www.swamedia.com/luvseat or join the conversation by using #LUVseat.