Shopping bags made from rice sacks help kids like Kumar

Attendees at this year Good Deals conference will be sporting some particularly colourful delegate bags this year.

They come from Buy Rice Back, a social enterprise that sells the bags to fund the education of kids that would otherwise be begging on the streets of Tamil Nadu in southern India.

The bags are made out of the colourful rice sacks that are discarded in that area of India. They are sold in several European countries and the profits help support My Name is Kumar, the foundation set up by Renee Schreurs. 

Schreurs came up with the idea after visiting India in 2012 to work with the CARE Foundation for six months. 

The country got under her skin and Schreurs returned in 2013 only to find the children’s home she’d been working at was at risk of closure because of funding cuts.

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Caption: Brothers and sisters Sandhiya, Bhavani, Ramya, Saravanan – some of the My Name is Kumar kids 

In response, Schreurs set up the My Name is Kumar foundation. It is named after the confident introduction that one of the first children the foundation helped – he was introducing himself to his new head teacher at the time.

As well as the bags, laptop sleeves are also produced. It is also possible to sponsor a child's education.

The foundation provides a home and education to 46 children that would have otherwise been forced to beg to survive. The foundation also works with social workers to keep a further 37 children at home whilst having access to education.

As well as being a good example of recycling, the tote bags that our delegates will be sporting produce yet more rice. The sale of a £10 tote bag can pay for a 25kg sack of rice – 148 portions of rice for the children at the home.  And the sack will of course get reused.

The purchase of the bags for the Good Deals conference will support the education of ten children for a year.