Every Africa Bag Has A Story:

Mary’s Story

Mary Ogalo, left, coordinates those who sew Designer Shopping Bags for the Global Bag Project.
Mary Ogalo, GBPK Program Manager with Nellie, one of the women in a sewing group where they are learning to make the GBP signature bag

Mary, the Global Bag Project Kenya (GBPK) Program Manager in Nairobi, has been working with us for 18 months now. She has taken her efforts to a whole new level, working with limited resources on part-time hours, as full-time graduate student who was pregnant for nine of those months.

Mary has started a sewing group of six women who live in a marginalized community near Africa International University, where she lives with her family. Her husband is pursuing his PhD. in Biblical Studies there as well. She also coordinates training, fellowship and workload distribution with women in other parts of the city. Mary has established a GBPK Board of Directors and has gone through the process of registering GBPK as a NGO (non-governmental organization) in Kenya.

Yes, Mary is very accomplished and capable of managing the project in Kenya, but what I love about Mary is her love for God and heart for suffering women and children. Each Friday, Mary meets for a time of sharing and prayer with one of the Africa bag sewing groups.

Hear her heart from her own words:

“God has placed a big responsibility in our hands, Carla. When I see women and children suffering due to lack of sustainable livelihood, my heart bleeds! It is for such that I work and pray. Can you imagine what it would be like to have at least 1,000 women sewing Africa bags every day and cheerfully feeding their families? I want to be part of what God is doing and will be doing through GBP!

Lord, hear our hearts desire and light our paths, help us to walk with you so we can understand your heart. Amen”

Can YOU imagine “At least 1,000 women sewing Africa bags every day and cheerfully feeding their families”? Help us fulfill Mary’s vision and dream for suffering women around the world. Here are some ways you can get involved:

Distinctive new computer bags, in addition to Designer Shopping Bags, from the Global Bag Project make great gifts for women of all ages.

Distinctive new computer bags from the Global Bag Project make great gifts for women of all ages.

Share the beauty and variety of Global Bag Project’s African Designer Shopping Bags with friends and family when you host a home

Share the beauty and variety of Global Bag Project’s African Designer Shopping Bags with friends and family when you host a home Party in a Box.

You Can Make a Difference When You Get Involved with Global Bag Project!

  1. Mother’s Day is coming! Our re-usable, eco-friendly shopping bags make a perfect Mother’s Day Gift! Order your African Designer Shopping Bags in time for Mother’s Day giving on our website: www.globalbagproject.org.

  2. We have computer bags. A new product designed by our project manager in Kenya, these are quilted and are great for toting laptops. We had 10 bags ready for shipping in Africa, but Canadian women visiting the Project swooped them up. A limited number are still available—another great idea for Mother’s Day gift-giving!

  3. Special-order gift bags or wine bags with your corporate logo — imprint for Christmas or year-round giving. We will work with you on design and implementation. Consider this great opportunity now, remembering that we need several months lead time to joyfully complete your project. GBP requires half the payment up front in order to wire overseas to purchase supplies. Contact Carla Boelkens: carla@globalbagproject.org.

  4. Hold a home Party-in-a-Box. Last fall, home parties with 16-24 guests raised $1,000-$1,200 each! Now is the perfect time to schedule a home Party-in-a-Box in time for Christmas 2011. We will mail you everything you need to have a bag-sales party.

  5. Help us schedule a presentation in a corporate setting — a school teacher’s lounge, a luncheon or coffee break with your office staff or church leadership team. Almost any kind of group loves to get behind the Global Bag Project.

  6. Provide a sewing machine for our team members in Kenya. Reach out to your extended family, book club or any small group, inviting them to make a difference in the lives of African women. Just $300 provides an industrial-quality sewing machine with dual-power controls. A check from a friend in Phoenix, AZ just arrived to underwrite three sewing machines. What a joy to provide these for women eager to lift their families out of poverty as they sew our beautiful African Designer Shopping Bags. Send your sewing machine checks to the Global Bag Project/Box 30/ Wheaton, IL 60187 or contact Carla Boelkens — carla@globalbagproject.org.

  7. Help others find us online when you underwrite our Internet marketing optimization effort. Six people stepped forward before the holidays and gave or pledged $360, giving $30 for 12 months. This matched the loan of $300 a month from a foundation grant to boost our Internet website traffic. We still need four additional donors to complete the matching pledge. That would total $1,440 in outright upfront gifts or pledges. Internet sales are a strategic part of our marketing plan. Email carla@globalbagproject.org for more information.

  8. Donate air-mileage points to the Global Bag Project. Overseas and domestic travels are required to support and sustain the Global Bag Project. By donating your unused miles or points to GBP, you provide a significant savings for us. We would greatly appreciate your gift of miles! Contact Carla Boelkens if you have extra travel miles.

Upcoming Events

We’re changing our dates to give us more time to plan and make this an awesome experience for you all! The new dates are: October 1-11, 2011. The cost is $2500 (NOT including airfare).

The package covers all land travel and meals in Nairobi, Kenya and while on safari. Travel to Nairobi is on your own. Tips are also included in the fee as well as funds for giving gifts toward the projects we serve. It does not include traveler’s insurance.

Take a look at this video to give you a vision for the trip filmed by Doug Timberlake of Growth Edge Group during their Kenyan Leadership Adventure. The dates at the end of the video have been changed to October 1-11, but it will give you a glimpse of the adventure we’re planning. http://video214.com/play/68tIbdXf2ueVEwLQaz3RDA/s/dark

Call Karen Mains at Mainstay Ministries at 630-293-4500 or e-mail her at karenm@hungrysouls.org. Or, e-mail Carla Boelkens at carla@globalbagproject.org.