In September 2010, a warm-hearted, creative woman in Kleinmond, in the Western Cape, had the idea of teaching jobless women to make gift bags from waste paper.
With the support of a friend, they set up a workshop and hired women to learn the skills. Of the original group, two showed their commitment and their willingness to work longer and harder than they were paid to do – in the interests of building the business. One of them still works for Pampiri.
Last year a retired teacher joined the team of three to help with marketing and her husband volunteers his time and expertise to assist in all aspects of the project. We are in the process of registering with the Department of Social Development.
We make a standard range of bags, packets, envelopes and pot plants bags but we also make items to specification and we enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make something new. In fact, we like to say we can make anything – so long as it’s out of waste paper – and we strive to ensure each and every item is a quality product and that our service is always people-friendly.
What drives us are our goals, 1) to manage otherwise pristine paper waste by converting it into handmade gift packaging and 2) to provide employment and the dignity of an income for local women who acquire their skills on the job. That, and the sure recognition that the only way to achieve our goals is to sell more product
By Rosemary Fowkes