In 2000, Luc Verelst set up the private foundation Solid International to pass his business knowledge and experience on to disadvantaged groups. Since 2004, his company has been supporting the population of one specific Peruvian region, namely Ayacucho. In 2006, Solid Peru saw the light. This organization lends a hand to various smaller Peruvian projects.
The company Manta is part and parcel of Solid Peru, providing employment for the disadvantaged women in Ayacucho. Many Peruvian women have a knack for knitting, crocheting and embroidering. Under Manta’s wings, they can put these talents into handmade products that find their way to the international market thanks to Bombyx. This organization sees to the sales of all Solid International products. In 2011, Manta employed nine women, who were all working for one Belgian customer. Yet by 2015, the number of customers had exploded, and the staff along with it: at the moment, Manta has no less than 200 employees, who are all working for fair wages and in honest working conditions.
Solid International’s partner Bombyx brings local, artisan ateliers, organizations and companies from the south into contact with traders from the north. This is a win-win situation: the northern traders get their hands on unique, authentic and high-quality products, while the southern economy gets a boost. Besides Manta, Bombyx collaborates with the Jaan Foundation in India. This studio is all about knitting, crocheting, weaving and embroidering. They only use sustainable, high-end materials like organic cotton, silk, 100% merino wool, pashmina and cashmere. The Jaan Foundation is a cooperation between Bombyx and missionary sister Jeanne De Vos.