Speaker Date Topic
Pat McGill Aug 20, 2019 7:00 AM
African Quilted Bag Project
African Quilted Bag Project

The beautiful handmade bag shown below was created by the Mukwano Women’s Group in Bujagali Falls, Uganda (at source of Nile River).  The area is impoverished as are many other areas of Uganda.  The women’s co-op was formed to make craft products to sell to tourists frequenting the area to go “White Water Rafting” on the Nile class 5 rapids. 

The co-op was doing quite well until a dam to supply electricity was built on the Nile in 2012.  The dam created a water entrapment area where about half of the rapids were located.  A second dam was completed in August 2018 taking out almost all of the remaining rapids.  Tourist traffic is down to a trickle.  The women’s co-op is desperately looking for new outlets for their wonderful products.

When I visited the Bujagali area as a volunteer involved with primary school improvements, Nangobi Florence (Flo – pictured with the quilted bag) approached me about selling the beautiful bags.  Flo and the other 50+ members of the co-op in two villages make the bags by hand using old treadle sewing machines.  I buy the bags directly from the women.  No one in the middle takes a profit.  The women are grateful to be able to earn the money and use it for school fees, medicines and other necessities for their children (malaria is a life threatening problem).  Where the average laborer makes $2.50 per day, the approximately $14 that the women is paid for each bag makes a big difference.  Proceeds from your purchase after costs, are returned to the women’s co-op periodically as a “bonus” or special program funding. Proceeds returned from Jan 2015 through April 2019 totaled $17,300.

Pat McGill
Cell 519-466-4431
KPMcGill1@gmail.com

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