By Raan & Shea Parton
Photos by Mohammad Ghayasuddin
We founded Apolis with a commitment to work for advocacy through industry. By following this mission, we became connected with incredible organizations who are doing brilliant work to strengthen and sustain their own local economies and bring opportunity to their local communities. We came to learn early on that the most effective role we can play in this process is to partner with them, help promote their skills, tell their stories and bring their products to a new market. Along with paying living wages and providing job security and benefits, many of the groups we work with have programs which invest the funds raised from partnerships like ours directly into local education & employment initiatives and other social programs.
This past weekend we received an email from Muhammad Ghayasuddin, the General Manager of Saidpur Enterprises, an organization located in Saidpur, 350 km Northwest of Dhaka in the Nilphamari district of the Rangpur Division of Bangladesh. This is where our Market Bags have been woven and constructed since we began our Bangladesh Project at the beginning of 2009.
M. Ghayasuddin was writing to celebrate with us the completion of 100,000 units of our Co-op Market Bag, the project that has employed Ghayasuddin and his female artisans for over 1,185 days. Over the years of partnering with Ghayasuddin to create our market bag, the cooperative continues to use their profits to provide school supplies to children whose parents cannot afford to purchase these items, without which they would not be able to attend school at all. Programs like these are rare in rural communities and he told us that the demand is growing for similar projects. We are honored to be a part of this project and working to support the families of Saidpur by supporting the growth of their own industry. Each supporter who has purchased our Market Bag has directly helped to provide a child in Saidpur with the tools they need to succeed in school, items that they might not have had otherwise, items we so often take for granted.
We work each day to ensure that our mission of “advocacy through industry” shapes each decision that we make at Apolis and we are humbled when we are so clearly reminded of why we do the work that we do. After several years of this work we have come to know that supporting the opportunities that communities create to sustain themselves, using their skills and their craft, is the most effective thing we can do. We are constantly inspired by the work ethic and leadership in rural communities, who start with limited resources, and often just a wing & a prayer. Their commitment and determination keep us striving each day to find new ways to ensure that we maintain our half of the partnership: a strong market for their industry, an audience for their story and a mutually sustainable way of life. We hope you are inspired by the last few years of photos from Bangladesh - as much as we are.
Watch Now: Behind-the-Seams of the Market Bag