Introducing our Plarntastic Beach Bag, handcrafted by creative women in the heart of The Gambia. These talented artisans have ingeniously transformed waste plastic wrap, often used for air freight shipments, into beautiful and practical accessories. Using their traditional crochet skills but, instead of wool, they use "plarn" – plastic yarn.
The Beach Bag is a stunning testament to the skill and creativity of these women. Meticulously crocheted with plarn, each bag is a unique work of art. By repurposing discarded plastic into durable and fashionable accessories, these artisans breathe new life into the material while promoting sustainability.
With its spacious design and sturdy construction this beach bag is the perfect companion for your sun-soaked adventures. Its generous size allows you to effortlessly pack all your essentials, from towels and sunscreen to books and snacks. The durable plarn ensures the bag can withstand the rigors of beach life while reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste. But that's not all – the innovative use of plarn also makes this bag incredibly practical. Thanks to its waterproof nature, you can conveniently toss in your wet swimsuit & beach towel.
Beyond its practicality and eye-catching design, purchasing this beach bag carries a profound impact. By supporting the creative women behind its creation, you contribute to their empowerment and economic independence. Through their remarkable skills, they transform waste into treasures while promoting environmental consciousness.
Every purchase of our Beach Bag directly supports this inspiring social enterprise, providing employment opportunities for these talented artisans. By investing in their craft, we help foster a brighter future for their families and communities, breaking the cycle of poverty and creating sustainable change.
Choose the Beach Bag made from plarn, crafted by these creative women in The Gambia, and embrace the beauty of ethical fashion while making a meaningful impact. With each use, you carry their story, the spirit of environmental stewardship, and a commitment to social responsibility. Join us in supporting this incredible initiative and celebrate the power of artistry and sustainability.
Dimensions: 37cm x 28cm. Drop length of shoulder strap: 34cm
Handcrafted in The Gambia
The story of Isatou Ceesay: Climate Hero who turned waste into wealth & changed lives...
“A strong woman stands up for herself, A stronger woman stands up for everyone else.”
Isatou Ceesay has been commended alongside Emma Watson as one of THE Five female activists who are changing the world. Here is how she did it...
Isatou's community was grappling with escalating waste issues. In impoverished regions like The Gambia, regular waste collection services are non-existent, leaving no alternative but to let it accumulate in the streets. Since her early memories, Isatou observed her village residents discarding their rubbish behind their homes. In her childhood, she used to carry groceries in a basket, but plastic bags became the norm. However, these bags wreaked havoc, causing harm to animals, triggering malaria outbreaks due to mosquito breeding, and inhibiting vegetable growth in contaminated soil. To make matters worse, Isatou witnessed her friends resorting to burning plastic as a fuel source for cooking, unaware of the toxic fumes emitted, posing health risks. Despite the enormity of the waste problem, Isatou's ws determined to take action.
Isatou's sister had taught her to crochet, sparking an idea to upcycle the problematic plastic bags into valuable items. She formed a women's group, collecting and washing bags from the rubbish pile. They transformed the bags into "plarn" (plastic yarn) and skillfully crocheted small purses, each taking around eight hours to make and utilizing approximately 10 plastic bags. The women were thrilled with their creations.
The women continued with their tiny business, now also making shoulder bags and cosmetic purses from plarn. Many of them were earning money for the first time, and they were able to use it to buy food to help their families through the ‘hungry gap’ – the three months in the year when there were few crops from their farmland.
Women in her village were now able to save some money, and Isatou helped them to open their own bank accounts. With their savings, many of the women could afford to support their families. Their daughters could continue into secondary school and they could pay for medical treatment. The women helped their community, too, each contributing some of their earnings to start a community garden to grow vegetables, and to help pay for orphans to go to school.
In 2012, Isatou won a Making a World of Difference Award from the International Alliance for Women. Her social enterprise 'Women’s Initiative Gambia' has trained over 11,000 people all over her country in the dangers of plastic and the opportunities for upcycling waste.
Isatou Ceesay, became known as “Queen of Recycling,” the woman who started the recycling movement called One Plastic Bag in the Gambia. The organisation works with communities across the tiny west African state to address not only the environmental impact of unregulated waste disposal, particularly plastic, but also the empowerment of women in the male dominated society. It employs hundreds of West African women and provides them with monthly income. At the time she set up the project, back in 1998, she was met with much resistance and ridiculed. Today Ceesay works to educate citizens about recycling and reducing the amount of waste that is created.
Where others saw a problem, Isatou saw an opportunity – an opportunity to create a healthier environment, but above all an opportunity to change people’s lives.