L.I.F.E. Bags Support Kenyan Women and Children
In Maai Mahui, Kenya, a simple sewing project is bettering the lives of a special group of women and children. L.I.F.E. bags (Livelihood, Invest, Future, Environment) are made by the Maliaka Mums, Kenyan women who have children with mental and/or physical disabilities.
In Kenya, some cultural traditions hold that handicaps are a curse, shameful, and a reason to ostracize a child and his or her family. L.I.F.E. bags are a sustainable, non-profit outreach program by Comfort the Children International. By learning how to create these bags totes, the Maliaka Mums are able to earn money to support themselves, their children, and to create a product that protects the earth from yet more plastic bags.
The first L.I.F.E bag I saw was brought back from the ASG conference. CTC founder Zane Wilemon says the ASG's help has been vital in training the Malaika Mums to sew and in supporting the program.
"It's incredible what happens when you bring committed individuals with a skill ready to empower others in need," Zane says. "It quickly becomes a mutual giving and receiving, where the individual with resources discovers their need as well and how sharing their lives with women on the other side of the world through the craft of sewing fills a void in their lives and brings fulfillment for both."
CTC takes volunteer teams to Kenya, and ASG teams have been invaluable in the development of the Malaika Mums' sewing skills. The L.I.F.E. bag story was written up in the ASG's Fall 2008 edition of Notions.
In the ASG online store, black L.I.F.E bags bearing the ASG logo are still available. They have the ASG logo on one side and “This is not a plastic bag” in Swahili on the other. The heavy-duty totes, made of Kenyan cotton and silk screened there, measure about 14 by 16 by 4 inches. Two limited edition, artist-designed L.I.F.E. bags are currently for sale in CTC's online store:
The HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere) Campaign bag supports HOPE's peace and education campaigns in Darfur, Kenya, Congo, and America.
The SAMO4PREZ Bag, designed by the Veritas Artist Collective, helps to promote and sustain the group's mission to promote humanitarian causes through art and media.
Here's a great gift idea: CTC also makes custom orders for organizations, businesses or groups. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.