Bond University Transformer mentor, Megan Winter hopes a simple cotton bag is enough to carry the hopes and dreams of Sri Lankan women trying to make a better life for themselves.
Winter has set up The Good Bag Project after travelling to Sri Lanka with a friend earlier this year, and briefly staying in the remote village of Digana.
“We only stayed for one night, but we met some women there who told us that the only opportunity for basically everyone in the town was to work in a dolomite mine, including the women. They were so keen to be able to get out of that because obviously it’s quite dangerous and very tough,” Winter says.
Winter came up with The Good Bag Project to allow the women in Digana to create sewn cotton bags to be on-sold. Other village women will hand-paint the bags using designs created by Winter’s travel partner, Jessica McEwin, who is a graphic designer.
Once complete, the bags are sent to Winter, to dispatch them to purchasers, who will be able to buy them off the internet, at www.thegoodbagproject.com. Winter, a digital marketer by trade, is also setting up a Facebook and Instagram presence for The Good Bag Project.
“We set up the social channels so people can follow the journey. We’re going to share the story of the orders coming through, the women sewing and painting the bags, and we’ll let our followers know how the funds and proceeds are used.
“It’s just a way of linking people back to the project so they can keep an eye on it.”
The business launched recently with a 24-hour online pop-up sale, to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Winter is running The Good Bag Project alongside her day job, but is not taking any payment for her work, instead preferring to use it as a way to give something back.
“I just think the fact that there was a blatant need for this when we were there, and we could do something, meant we decided to do something.
“By empowering a woman, it goes much deeper, it goes into her family but also the community and then other women within the community.
“I’d love to be able to purchase more (sewing) machines and be able to help more women, even potentially in other locations and just give people an opportunity to support themselves through a skill that’s quite easily learned.”
Winter also works with Bond University on the Gold Coast, mentoring students through the university’s Transformer program – an Australian-first entrepreneurship program offered as a fee-free, extracurricular option to Bond undergraduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines.