The Roscommon Women’s Network UpCycle social enterprise this week donated 250 upcycled bags to Crosscause, a voluntary charity which provides agricultural, household and other products to some of the poorest areas in Ghana and Romania.
The bags, which were made out of donated materials including men’s ties, cushion and duvet covers, will be filled with toiletries and other items by Crosscause volunteers and shipped to women in disadvantaged areas of Romania.
Speaking at the Riverside Centre in Athleague as the bags were presented to Crosscause, UpCycle co-ordinator Martina Hourigan said the group was delighted to be involved.
“Marion (Coughlan) from Crosscause had been familiar with the work of the Roscommon Women’s Network and she made contact with Nora Fahy (RWN manager) and explained how Crosscause have a similar initiative to the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal but wanted to make it more sustainable,” she said.
“We were very fortunate that we had just completed an upcycling training course here in Athleague with ten ladies and they were very interested in continuing on with us every Tuesday and this gave them a purpose. It also allowed them to further their skills and training and it gave them the opportunity to see if they wanted to continue with us in a more formal way.
“We were bowled over by their commitment and dedication to the project. They agreed on a design for the bag and received donations from Crosscause. We reused cushions, ties, duvet covers, etc. and they turned out really nice and colourful,
“All those involved here commented that they really enjoyed doing the work and that they felt they were helping other women elsewhere in the world. Women helping women…there’s something about it that resonates with us”.
Martina said the bags, which were produced between March and July of this year, are sustainable, and can be used as shopping bags by recipients in Romania.
The UpCycle coordinator added that the project had also provided an important platform for the social enterprise as it continues its growth in the circular economy.
Castlerea native Marion Coughlan is a Crosscause volunteer and she said the charity was deeply grateful to the Roscommon Women’s Network for their work in producing the bags.
“For Romania, we will create a bag for each lady using these upcycled bags and put the basics into it such as soap, facecloths…hand creme, Sudocreme and Vaseline and things like that never go astray either. We also send food which is stored then at a warehouse there before going out to the different families,” she said.
“With so many materials thrown out we got the idea to make bags…we did make some ourselves, but it wasn’t easy. When we heard the RWN was doing upcycling projects we contacted Martina and she told us to bring up whatever materials we had. Each woman will now get a bag with their items in it and the bags themselves can then be reused for shopping.
“This will make a difference to them and I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to Roscommon Women’s Network for all their work and for the beautiful bags they have produced”.