Every African Bag Has A Story:

From the African Side of the Sea

Rachel is one of Global Bag Project's seamstresses.
Rachel is one of Global Bag Project's seamstresses.

Rachel is a married mother of three children, two boys who are 12 and 10 years old and a 9–year–old girl. She lives with her family in an informal settlement in the Dagoretti area of Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to joining the Global Bag Project sewers group, she spent six days a week working as house help. Rachel now spends some days doing sewing work at GBP and helping as the workshop assistant taking on straightening and cleaning duties.

Rachel completed high school in 2000, but she did not manage to get her exam results because of being in arrears with her school fees. In Kenya, the high school education is not free, and though many girls manage to do Form One to Form Four, sometimes they do not receive their man exam results because they are not able to pay their exam fees. Those who do not get results cannot access college education because they have no proof of high school education. Due to this, Rachel’s dreams have been hampered.

"I can now support my family with the money I earn sewing GBP bags."

Rachel came to Nairobi in 2003 with her husband who does menial work in construction sites; this is work that is hard to come by and the pay is low.

As is the case with many women who migrate from the rural areas to Nairobi city, Rachel’s family has had to put up with living in a one–room rental and depend on day wages for food. Rachel’s training in the Global Bag Project sewing course therefore has brought some added income to her needy family. "I can now support my family with the money I earn sewing GBP bags." She hopes that this will open other income generating opportunities to make her family life better.

I like Rachel’s positive outlook on life. She happens to be the most literate woman in the sewing group having attended high school. She is also a committed Christian. Due to this, Rachel has been very helpful as a sewing workshop assistant whose duties also include shopping for fabrics and keeping inventory.

Mary Ogalo, GBP Project Manager, Kenya

The USA Side of the Story: What Are Sisters For?

Karen Mains, GBP Executive Director
Karen Mains, GBP Executive Director

"Hey, I have an idea!" My sister, Valerie Bell, was on the other end of the phone line. We are morning risers, and often these conversations are conducted early in the day.

Valerie serves as a Director on the board of Awana International. Awana ministers to 2,000,000 children in 28,000 churches worldwide. For example, last year in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, Africa some 1,000 children received Christ through Awana clubs. Through Awana children at risk have found faith in bordellos in India, in Muslim communities without any other Christian witnesses and even in prisons through special Lifeline Programs for Prisoners and their children.

"Awana has clubs in Nairobi. Maybe we can carry out a partnership with Global Bap Project in some way."

So a few phone calls and an appointment or two later, Carla Boelkens, our GBP USA Director began conversations that eventually led to Awana club membership for children of women who sew in the sewing room and an order of some 1500 bags and payment of some $30,000 for material and fair wages. This meant that twelve women had steady work from January through March 2014 and now after final payments have been exchanged, there is a surplus that will carry much of the operations of the Global Bag Project Kenya forward for six months.

Praise God! In time, to avoid conflict of interest, Valerie recused herself from anything other than this initial introductory involvement. This, indeed, has been a unique partnership.

It occurs to me that many of you are similarly positioned. What simple connection, requiring little energy or involvement on your part, could bring health to some struggling mothers across the ocean? We are, after all, in God’s eyes sisters of one another. If you, too, have an idea, will you contact us at info@globalbagproject.org? Our office phone at Mainstay Ministries is: 630–293–4500. Heather Ann Martinez is our office manager.

We are all sisters under the skin!

The Aprons are Coming! The Aprons are Coming!

Kanga–cloth remnants are often used to make beautiful kanga–cloth aprons. When orders of quantity are made, we ask for half payment up front, but when a recent order for 60 aprons was made, the person who made the order is no longer with the organization responsible for this transaction and they have cancelled this transaction. So we are left with 60 beautiful cotton aprons, 40 of which are traveling to the States in the suitcase of a friend but with no buyers. MOTHERS’ DAY ALSO IS COMING—May 11.

Our Aprons are the perfect conversation starter as you wear them when you are entertaining guests or making dinner preparations
Our Aprons are the perfect conversation starter as you wear them when you are entertaining guests or making dinner preparations.

If you make an order right now, we will have time to ship you a mother’s day apron by that date. The cost per apron is $25 plus shipping and handling. If you order aprons for all the mother’s in your life, we will give a quantity discount of $20 per bag plus shipping and handling.

Order right now! Our e–address is: info@globalbagproject.org. You can order over the Website using Paypal: www.globalbagproject.org. We cannot guarantee designs or colors (these deliveries are always a delightful surprise to us as well), but we will try to match your color choice.


Contact info@globalbagproject.org. Send a check via snail mail to Global Bag Project, Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187 or make a contribution through the GBP website using the Paypal system.

Other Ways You Can Help:

  1. You can help us set up a small scholarship fund for mother’s like Rachel who just need a little extra to pay for overdue school fees for themselves or their children.
  2. Sewing machines. Mary Ogalo has some $400 donated for sewing machines for the sewing classes in Kenya. The US office has some $500 for sewing machines. The commercial grade machines we purchase in country are about $300 US dollars each. Would you like to make a gift (or perhaps your women’s book group, small prayer cell, or your extended family of mothers) to African mothers, many at risk and some without husbands to help? These are women willing to work hard to lift themselves out of poverty.