● WoW bags from the Philippines
WoW stands for Wonders of Waste. This is an ecological livelihood project for two small groups of women in the Philippines who produce these bags and other items from the many discarded drinks cartons that litter the place. We support them by selling their colourful merchandise at craft and gift fairs. The money we return to the cooperative significantly improves the quality of life for this group of women and their families.
As many of us have now owned and used these bags for years we can vouch for their durability and practicality.
So what happens to produce a WoW bag? Firstly some women collect the used juice packs. They get them from hospitals, schools or from the road where people have discarded them. The packs are then washed and sorted by size and colour. Other women and their family members help with this task. They also sort the packs into different colours and brands.
Other supplies needed for the bags like the thread, zips, trimming for the edges, buckles etc all have to come from Manila. This is a 3 hour + trip each way. It is all purchased in a huge market called Divisioria and then brought back to the province by public transport.
With the supplies sorted out the women are ready to start sewing the bags. The women work from their own homes therefore ensuring minimal disruption to family routines. They can decide how many bags they wish to make and when they want to make them. When the order is finished they are quality checked before leaving the village.
The bags are ecological, they remove waste plastic from the environment. Their colours and character brighten the day and are a joy to use. You are buying more than a bag from WoW, this is fair trade at its best.
This project has excited and inspired our club. We take every opportunity to show and sell the bags both locally and to other members of SI. We have spread the word to other regions and even other Federations – at least as far as France and Norway!
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