Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Bag of Hope Project

We have a wonderful new shop and neighbor in downtown Milford. This summer Anne Jenkins moved to Milford and opened her art gallery just down the block from the LadyBug Shop. Anne is originally from South Africa and previously had a gallery in Georgia. It was there that she started The Bag of Hope project in December 2008. A group of unskilled women in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, formed a support group for those living with HIV and AIDS, especially the orphaned children. The learned to sew and embroider, tutored by Jenkins’ sister. They produce little fabric landscapes or pictures made from donated handmade and dyed fabric and thread. Each picture is different and charmingly simple. Some depict African life, some are whimsical. Anne then uses these scenes to decorate canvas tote bags. Jenkins has set up a website for the project and sells the bags for $30 each at her gallery.

The group has constructed a community center to provide education, support and material help for the needy. And they run a soup kitchen and feeding program for the little ones. A portion of the money from the selling the bags goes directly to the soup kitchen. The price per bag has been set to cover the cost of the bags and shipping, with the balance of $25 per bag sent back to the group.
The LadyBug Shop is also now carrying these bags. Anne worked with the ladies in South Africa to produce ladybug themed landscapes.

These lovely and inspirational bags can be used for a variety of things – shopping or carrying a laptop computer. And they make wonderful Christmas gifts – inexpensive, handy and a way of helping people.

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