Twelve months on from the launch of our Cocobagh our social business venture in West Bengal, we are super excited to see 5 out of our initial 6 women trained up and ready to start work.
After an intensive year of practical training in the art of sewing and stitching basic bags like our 5oz cotton shoppers, the trainees are now employed as full time members of our production team at our bag making production facility in Baduria.
Cocobagh trainees are paid a basic wage throughout their training period, allowing them to afford to send their children to school and attend the training centre an average of 3 days a week. With their newly acquired skills they can now earn a proper wage with bonuses, providing a sustainable income for themselves and their families.
Producing basic cotton bags only provides limited employment and demand for them often fluctuates, so we are starting to bring other local handmade products to market that we know UK retailers will love, but will also provide on-going employment for the first five women and the next group that start in November.
NEW Traditional Bengal Market Baskets
This season we’re launching two traditional Bengal market baskets that really have to be seen to believed. Beautiful dry bamboo-strip baskets handwoven in the village next door to our training facility. Widely used across India for fruits and vegetables, we spotted them while driving through the local area and immediately knew they’d be ideal for retail storage and display here in the UK.
Don’t be fooled though, these baskets are bigger than they look and will perfectly store and present a whole range of product, even produce the size of pumpkins is no match. We’ll publish a separate blog on how to get the best use out of them at a later date. The main thing to remember is that first of all, these oversized display baskets are an absolute steal starting at just £19.95 ex Vat for the smaller of the two and £24.95 for the extra-large. And secondly, the proceeds from them are providing employment for the villagers who make them, but also for our apprentices who are trained to quality check, label and pack them into boxes.
Cocobagh Social Business Venture
Like many other social enterprises that are helping to support some of the world’s poorest communities, all the profits from the products made or handled by our training facility, are reinvested back into the Cocobagh social business venture, creating a self-sustaining business that we hope will continue to contribute to the funding, training and development of people from the local community for many years to come.
Look out for the Cocobagh logo above on products from our range. There will certainly be more to come!