Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great News! The Global Bag Project Has a Sustainable Model in Kenya.

This last fiscal quarter, through Home Parties, Bag Parties in a Box (which arrive in the mail), and through the generous invitation of Heartland Church in Rockford, IL who invited us to be their “Cause of the Month” for all of May, Global Bag Project raised $17,000 in donations. We humbly praise God for this generosity.

Right now, 8 bag-producers and one Kenyan project manager, Mary Ogolo, are involved in our growing adventure. Whenever we sell a bag, we can truthfully say, “This helps to feed a child in Kenya.” Whenever Carla wires a check to our Global Bag Project bank account, we are well aware that carrying these reusable grocery bags in the States is not only good ecological practice, it is helping our African co-workers pay school fees ($300 per child per year), pay rent ($200 a month in the Kibera slums—truly a place you do not want to live), and pay for a sewing space for the sewing cooperatives that are forming ($50 per month). A small bag of sugar and corn meal and a small bottle of cooking oil costs about $8. These items are used to make ugali, the East African ‘bread” that is a staple at most every meal.

On average, an experienced sewer can earn $18-30 a day sewing GBP bags. That’s $600 a month or $7,200 per year. That is a FAIR (more than fair) wage!

This is thrilling to us! Here are some ways you can help, ways that have been tested by other GBP supporters:

l. Hold a bag party. We will ship a bag party in a box with host instructions. We have had sales from $400 to $1,500. These parties take about 1an ½ hours and are a delightful event.

2. Purchase an industrial strength sewing machine. Some of the African-made sewing machines are breaking under constant use, so we are changing to sturdier models, which cost $350-$400 each. We will give you the name of the bag-maker along with her photo when she receives the sewing machine.

3. Hold an office party. Sell the bags at lunch, breaks or after work. If you can play our “Every Bag Has a Story” DVD, great! But the bags often walk off the coat racks or the tables on which they are displayed.

4. Make one of our first renewable micro-credit loans. Some donations have been given for our first capital investment toward establishing a sewing cooperative, but we are getting ready to set up small loans for those women who demonstrate entrepreneurial initiatives.

5. See if your church will take the Global Bag Project on as a Cause of the Month.

To participate in any of these events, contact Carla Boelkens, Global Bag Project Director at or visit or

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