Multi-hued vibrancy a lifestyle

2018-07-19 06:00
Started in 1998, the Township Project brings the colours and textures of township life to retail stores in the form of reusable shopping bags.                PHOTO: Karin Schermbrucker

Started in 1998, the Township Project brings the colours and textures of township life to retail stores in the form of reusable shopping bags. PHOTO: Karin Schermbrucker

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

For over two decades, a local empowerment project has created over two million sustainable shopping bags, which have found their way around the globe.

Since 1998, the Township Project has brought the colours and textures of township life to retail stores such as Pick n Pay, in the form of reusable shopping bags.

The project was started after founder and CEO Nicole-Marie Iresch visited the homes of a group of women in Khayelitsha, and drew inspiration from the abundance of patterns, colours and textures that surrounded her. A desire to express them to the world was born.

But her dream was bigger than just fabric – Iresh wanted to find meaningful economic opportunities to empower the women she had met­­­.

The project has since grown into seven sewing co-operatives from Manenberg to Khayelitsha, providing women with the skills to establish and run independent sewing co-operatives within their communities­.

Each co-op receives intensive sewing, accounting and business training and, after six months, becomes an autonomous entity registered with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Jennifer Lottering, one of the members of a co-operative in Manenberg, joined the project in 2004 after her previous employer closed shop.

Many of the bags made in her co-operative are sent overseas, explains Lottering.

“It’s quite a good feeling. When I see the bags at Pick n Pay, I know we made that and I feel proud,” she says.

Today, the entire network employs more than 65 women and this year alone, the seven cooperatives will generate a gross income of over R3m, says Iresch.

The women are also taught about finances, with all participating women encouraged to open bank accounts and start savings plans.

Iresch adds: “We started with hessian bags because the ladies from the communities involved knew about this natural fabric way back, having used it as school bags.

We then launched the eco-designer cotton bags in 2009 and now we are adding the recycled PET bag.

“Over the period we produced close to one million bags, making sure their design and their quality would be good enough to get every customer to love them and reuse them over and over.

“The Township brand also supplies the conference industry with cotton bags and has developed a range of printed fabrics, inspired by the colourful and joyful atmosphere of Khayelitsha,” she says.

But the focus remains on sustainability.

“The recycled PET fabric itself comes from plastic bottles collected within South Africa, and transformed into fabric by local textile companies. That means this bag initiative supports many local jobs in addition to the women employed in the co-operatives while helping to ‘clean’ the ocean. This is not only a nice idea, but actually what we need to do to change consumer behaviour and really make a positive impact on the planet.”

Over two decades, a local empowerment project has created over two million sustainable shopping bags, which have been sent around the globe.

Started in 1998, the Township Project brings the colours and textures of township life to retail stores such as Pick n Pay, in the form of reusable shopping bags.

The project was started after founder and CEO Nicole-Marie Iresch visited the homes of a group of women in Khayelitsha. She drew inspiration from the abundance of patterns, colours and textures that surrounded her, and a desire to express them to the world was born.

But her dream was bigger than just fabric – Iresh wanted to find meaningful economic opportunities to empower the women she met­­­.

The project has since grown into seven sewing co-operatives in Manenberg and Khayelitsha, and provides women with the skills to establish and run independent sewing co-operatives within their communities­.

Each co-op receives intensive sewing, accounting and business training and, after six months, becomes an autonomous entity registered with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Jennifer Lottering is one of the members of a co-operative in Manenberg, after joining the project in 2004 when her then employer closed shop.

Many of the bags made in her co-operative are sent overseas, explains Lottering.

“It’s quite a good feeling. When I see the bags in Pick n Pay, I know we made that and I feel proud,” she says.

Today the entire network employs more than 65 women and this year alone, the seven cooperatives will generate a gross income over R3m, says Iresch.

The women are also taught about finances, explains Lottering, with all participating women encouraged to open bank accounts and start savings plans.

Iresch explains: “We started with hessian bags because the ladies from the communities involved knew about this natural fabric back from the old ages, using it as a school bag. We then launched the eco-designer cotton bags in 2009 and now we are adding the recycled PET bag.

“Over the period we produced close to one million bags, making sure their design and their quality would be good enough to get every customer to love them and reuse them over and over.

The Township brand also supplies the conference industry with cotton bags, nationally and internationally, and has developed a range of printed fabrics inspired by the colourful and joyful atmosphere of Khayelitsha, says Iresh.

But the focus remains on sustainability.

“The recycled PET fabric itself comes from plastic bottles collected within South Africa, transformed into fabric by local textile companies. This means that this bag initiative supports many local jobs in addition to the women employed in the co-operatives while helping to ‘clean’ the ocean. This is not only a nice idea, this is actually what we need to do to change consumer behaviour and really make a positive impact on the planet now.”

Over two decades, a local empowerment project has created over two million sustainable shopping bags, which have been sent around the globe.

Started in 1998, the Township Project brings the colours and textures of township life to retail stores such as Pick n Pay, in the form of reusable shopping bags.

The project was started after founder and CEO Nicole-Marie Iresch visited the homes of a group of women in Khayelitsha. She drew inspiration from the abundance of patterns, colours and textures that surrounded her, and a desire to express them to the world was born.

But her dream was bigger than just fabric – Iresh wanted to find meaningful economic opportunities to empower the women she met­­­.

The project has since grown into seven sewing co-operatives in Manenberg and Khayelitsha, and provides women with the skills to establish and run independent sewing co-operatives within their communities­.

Each co-op receives intensive sewing, accounting and business training and, after six months, becomes an autonomous entity registered with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Jennifer Lottering is one of the members of a co-operative in Manenberg, after joining the project in 2004 when her then employer closed shop.

Many of the bags made in her co-operative are sent overseas, explains Lottering.

“It’s quite a good feeling. When I see the bags in Pick n Pay, I know we made that and I feel proud,” she says.

Today the entire network employs more than 65 women and this year alone, the seven cooperatives will generate a gross income over R3m, says Iresch.

The women are also taught about finances, explains Lottering, with all participating women encouraged to open bank accounts and start savings plans.

Iresch explains: “We started with hessian bags because the ladies from the communities involved knew about this natural fabric back from the old ages, using it as a school bag. We then launched the eco-designer cotton bags in 2009 and now we are adding the recycled PET bag.

“Over the period we produced close to one million bags, making sure their design and their quality would be good enough to get every customer to love them and reuse them over and over.

The Township brand also supplies the conference industry with cotton bags, nationally and internationally, and has developed a range of printed fabrics inspired by the colourful and joyful atmosphere of Khayelitsha, says Iresh.

But the focus remains on sustainability.

“The recycled PET fabric itself comes from plastic bottles collected within South Africa, transformed into fabric by local textile companies. This means that this bag initiative supports many local jobs in addition to the women employed in the co-operatives while helping to ‘clean’ the ocean. This is not only a nice idea, this is actually what we need to do to change consumer behaviour and really make a positive impact on the planet now.”

Over two decades, a local empowerment project has created over two million sustainable shopping bags, which have been sent around the globe.

Started in 1998, the Township Project brings the colours and textures of township life to retail stores such as Pick n Pay, in the form of reusable shopping bags.

The project was started after founder and CEO Nicole-Marie Iresch visited the homes of a group of women in Khayelitsha. She drew inspiration from the abundance of patterns, colours and textures that surrounded her, and a desire to express them to the world was born.

But her dream was bigger than just fabric – Iresh wanted to find meaningful economic opportunities to empower the women she met­­­.

The project has since grown into seven sewing co-operatives in Manenberg and Khayelitsha, and provides women with the skills to establish and run independent sewing co-operatives within their communities­.

Each co-op receives intensive sewing, accounting and business training and, after six months, becomes an autonomous entity registered with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Jennifer Lottering is one of the members of a co-operative in Manenberg, after joining the project in 2004 when her then employer closed shop.

Many of the bags made in her co-operative are sent overseas, explains Lottering.

“It’s quite a good feeling. When I see the bags in Pick n Pay, I know we made that and I feel proud,” she says.

Today the entire network employs more than 65 women and this year alone, the seven cooperatives will generate a gross income over R3m, says Iresch.

The women are also taught about finances, explains Lottering, with all participating women encouraged to open bank accounts and start savings plans.

Iresch explains: “We started with hessian bags because the ladies from the communities involved knew about this natural fabric back from the old ages, using it as a school bag. We then launched the eco-designer cotton bags in 2009 and now we are adding the recycled PET bag.

“Over the period we produced close to one million bags, making sure their design and their quality would be good enough to get every customer to love them and reuse them over and over.

The Township brand also supplies the conference industry with cotton bags, nationally and internationally, and has developed a range of printed fabrics inspired by the colourful and joyful atmosphere of Khayelitsha, says Iresh.

But the focus remains on sustainability.

“The recycled PET fabric itself comes from plastic bottles collected within South Africa, transformed into fabric by local textile companies. This means that this bag initiative supports many local jobs in addition to the women employed in the co-operatives while helping to ‘clean’ the ocean. This is not only a nice idea, this is actually what we need to do to change consumer behaviour and really make a positive impact on the planet now.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Cluster Financial Manager

Cape Town
Network Finance
R950 000.00 - R1 000 000.00 Per Year

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.