We all know that recycling is important, but this week’s featured partner takes repurposing to a new level. While one person might see old bottles and jars littering the streets of Ghana, the women who work for A Ban Against Neglect (ABAN), see materials to make gorgeous bags, wallets and jewelry. At ABAN, not only are used bottles and bags given a new purpose, but the women’s lives are renewed as well.
ABAN works in Accra, Ghana. Since the 1980’s, the country has represented success of growth and development in Africa. However, according to Rural Poverty Portal, farmers in rural areas are still struggling because of soil erosion and a loss in fertility in the ground.
Many younger men and women have left their villages to look for jobs in Ghana’s urban areas. Because of the migration, there is a high rate of unemployed young people in Ghana’s cities.
Rose, a graduate of ABAN’s program, was one of many unemployed women in Ghana. The young mother of a baby named Theo, she was found on the streets as a teenager and welcomed into the ABAN program. Now, she works for ABAN as a talented and successful seamstress.
ABAN mission is to provide a new beginning for extremely poor or homeless young mothers like Rose. For two years, ABAN offers women healthcare, education and a place to call home.
During the two years that women participate in the ABAN program, they take classes in reading, writing, math, business and childrearing techniques, and a vocational trade. By the end of two years, each woman has the vital skills she needs to support herself and her family.
In addition to taking classes, the women choose to learn the art of sewing or jewelry making. The craftswomen and tailors create all of ABAN’s products from melted bottles and jars that are found on the streets each day.
To make an ABAN bag, the first step is to collect water sachets for the lining. Local organizations and schools in Accra have partnered with ABAN to find and gather water bottles and jars on the streets of the city.
Next, each water sachet is hand-washed, sanitized twice, and dried before the seamstresses at ABAN’s facility sew the bags together.
The artists use a traditional method called Batik to decorate ABAN’s products. First, the artist stamps a white fabric with wax, and then she dips the fabric into brightly colored dyes. Once the fabric is dry, she boils the fabric to remove the wax.
Thistle Farms has been partnering with ABAN for the last few years. We are delighted to take this partnership deeper through Shared Trade. You’ll be able to check out more of ABAN’s products at the Nashville MarketPlace in October.