Watch: How the Market Bag is Breaking a Poverty Cycle


Cinematographer: Atish Saha

Editor: Tyler Rumph

Music: Kevin Matley

We're really excited for you to see the above short film, which was made during our recent 10-Day Bangladesh Expedition. Believe it or not, the majority of the film was shot with just an iPhone (no lenses) by award-winning photojournalist Atish Saha, and the end result looks remarkably cinematic. 

While the film was made in August 2017, the story behind the film really began in Spring 2011. A friend who was connected to a network of Fair Trade-certified vendors shared a few contacts with us. One of them was Mohammad Ghayasuddin, the General Manager of Saidpur Enterprises — a women’s co-op in the city of Saidpur, Bangladesh, which now makes our market bags. My brother Raan quickly saw the potential in partnering with Saidpur Enterprises to produce the market bag — but to be honest, I did not. I naively told Raan that the bag was a dumb idea and that we shouldn’t do this. Get this, though: a couple of days later, Raan secretly wired funds from his personal bank account to Ghayasuddin in order to manufacture a test order of 30 market bags. Now, over six years and 180,000 bags later, we’re blown away not simply by the public response — which has been tremendous — but by the fact that these market bags help provide Fair Trade wages, annual profit dividends, and a retirement fund for the 106 women who work at Saidpur Enterprises

Ghayasuddin's own story is pretty incredible to hear. He lost his parents at an early age, and as he says in the film: "I could either be a victim of my circumstances and sink deeper into poverty, or I could seek to take ownership of my situation and make the most out of tomorrow." Ghayasuddin has sought not only to provide for his family, but to help others as well, spending over 20 years fighting to break the cycle of poverty by building a business which would truly benefit the community of Saidpur.

We’re honored that we get to be a part of this story, and we honestly think that the Saidpur model is the future of accountability for garment and textile production. By partnering with these artisans to make a quality product which appeals to a global market, we’re able to help Saidpur Enterprises provide its employees — mostly mothers trying to support their families — with fair wages and job benefits. This is a tangible way to break the cycle of poverty, and it’s an endeavor that you’re a part of too, because every purchase of an Apolis market bag directly benefits the moms of Saidpur Enterprises and their families. So thank you for your support!

Special thanks to Forbes for releasing a short interview with the above video earlier this week. Also we're so thankful to contribute to Huffingtonpost and be able to re-post the above article and video.

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