Turn plastic rice bags into functional bags and help Orang Asli women earn a living

Instead of sending empty rice bags to the landfill, why not recycle them to become a grocery bags made by Orang Asli women at Labu, Negeri Sembilan. — Picture courtesy of Carrol Lawrence
Instead of sending empty rice bags to the landfill, why not recycle them to become a grocery bags made by Orang Asli women at Labu, Negeri Sembilan. — Picture courtesy of Carrol Lawrence

IPOH, June 30 — When you are done with those plastic rice bags, don’t throw them away.

Instead, pass them over to this group of Orang Asli women and have them turn the discarded items into functional bags.

This is the latest initiative by the Making Orang Asli Mothers Independent (Moami) group.

Moami volunteer Carrol Lawrence said the bags are made by Orang Asli women at Kampung Tekir in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.

“It is to empower them. They have been affected by the movement control order,” she told Malay Mail.

The bags can be used when you go grocery shopping.

Carrol said prior to the enforcement of MCO, the women were making conference bags.

“But following the enforcement of MCO, meetings had been suspended. Hence we came up with the idea to make grocery bags from rice bags so that the women can continue to make a livelihood.”

To get the bags done, Carrol said customers are encouraged to send between three and five bags or about 1 kg of empty plastic rice bags to the village.

“Once it is completed, it would be mailed back to them,” she said, adding that the Orang Asli women charge between RM5 and RM10 to sew one bag based on the size and customisation.

Carrol said the women use an industrial sewing machine that was donated to them to sew the bags.

“As the women are housewives, they will need about a week before the ready bags can be sent back to the customers.”

Carrol added that the focus of Moami, which was registered in 2015, was to improve the living conditions of the Orang Asli community through education, health and nutrition.

“We focus on mothers and children.”

Aside from the Orang Asli community in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, Moami also assists the communities in Slim River, Perak and Gombak, Selangor.

For details on the grocery bags, contact Moami via its Facebook page

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