Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SEW bags - Supporting + Empowering Women

How great are these brilliant handcrafted 'SEW' tote bags? Aside from being a fantastic design made from 100% recycled materials, they are the product of an inspiring development initiative in Arusha, Tanzania, in a project run by Melbourne law students Jessie Smith and Denis Cairney.

SEW stands for 'Supporting + Empowering Women'. The project supports HIV+ women in Arusha, Tanzania, offering these stigmatized women much needed employment and financial independence, as well as the opportunity to learn valuable business skills. The woman are paid a fair wage and all profits are re-invested back into the project. The bags retail for $19.95 each and are available to buy only from Readings Carlton at present (more stockists to come!).

Photos from the SEW workshops in Arusha, Tanzania

SEW launches officially this Thursday at Readings in Carlton! Everyone is welcome, if you're in the area, do pop in, lend your support to this fantastic project and learn a little more about the SEW initiative!

SEW launch event
Thursday March 25th
6.00pm for 6.30pm start

Readings Carlton
309 Lygon st, Carlton

Drinks provided


  1. This sounds like an awesome project. I love the goals and the bags are nice-looking, the size is great for day shopping or even as a casual everyday bag with jeans or shorts. Please let us know if they are available by mail for shipping overseas.

  2. Brilliant project and great bags too. Hope the launch goes well.

  3. These bags are fantastic and more power to all the women involved. Look forward to finding out about a Canberra stockist...fingers crossed for that!

  4. Wow what a wonderful idea. The bags are lovely! Congratulations to the Melbourne girls who have worked to make it happen.

    I saw you in the Melbourne Weekly mag by the way! Great stuff!

  5. This is good. Wish I lived in the area to support the event.

  6. Always enjoy an inspiring article.
    I believe these African communities are assisted by us Aussies through donations of our old or unused sewing machines. If you have one in any condition Spotlight fabric stores in NSW, Australia will take them of your hands. They have them repaired or serviced and send to communities like these so that the woman can make a living.
    I donated my darling old machine of 25 years, which I actually miss.
    I am pretty sure they still do this if not ring them and they may be able to put you onto the company that organises this.
    How cool would it be to have these bags as the recyclable shopping bags for our groceries?

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. What a great article! You know I don't post my appreciation enough for the posts you write, so thought I would do it now. SEW sounds like such an inspiring and worthy project - not to mention they produce a very aesthetic product that is useful.

    Thanks for posting this..I have to find a way to big up SEW in one of my posts so that I can spread the word! Even if they aren't in this part of my world yet.

  9. such a great cause, idea and product!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!
    Pretty nice photos!! :)

  12. We would be more than happy to stock at Book Street Toorak (bookstreet@bigpond.com) We have bookmarks from East Timor and book bags from Tibetan refugees in India. Who should I contact?

  13. irene stavrakakisApril 13, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    hi i own a cafe in richmond and would love to stock these bags
    please contact me at renie@aapt.net.au....or let me know who to contact.