Bags of blessing for ‘untouchable’ women of India

Dave HallByDave Hall

Bags of blessing for ‘untouchable’ women of India

Buying the right shopping bag will not save the world – but it provides freedom for people living in poverty.

CRE 2017 exhibitor Promise Bags employ women classed in India as ‘untouchables’ – to make jute, cotton and leather bags. The beautiful products deliver freedom and dignity to their makers.

A Promise Bag is colourful and stylish with all manner of uses – shopping, food or stationery, for example. Made of jute, cotton and leather, it can even be produced with a company logo or publicity message printed on the surface.

Best of all, purchasing a Promise Bag has a direct benefit on people like Mani – an ‘untouchable’ from the rural Indian village of Andhra Pradesh. Mani had no hope and no future having given up school to help provide extra income for her poverty-stricken parents. Married at 14, she lives in a thatched mud house. She worked wherever she could – for long hours under the hot sun in rice, cotton or vegetable fields – for the equivalent of $2 a day.

Now 24, she has regular work, is treated equally and given opportunities to design different types of bags. ‘My ideas and thoughts are valued,’ she said. ‘I am so glad to be part of the leadership team of Promise Bags. I am full of joy and dreaming of building a nice house. I have dignity and the opportunity to dream.’

Promise Bags do not just ensure that ten women stitch together material to create something useful. They are stitching together lives that have been ravaged by unfair treatment and lack of hope. The company’s owners intend to have 100 women in employment by 2020 – a dream that visitors to CRE can share in, by taking away a bag to treasure.

• Promise Bags are on Stand S73 at CRE 2017

About the author

Dave Hall

Dave Hall author