Concerned to reconnect hands and minds and make a worthwhile environmental impact, a few women from Saudi Arabia are crocheting recycled plastic bags into colorful bean bags and other quality crafts. The founder of Ateeq, which is Arabic for vintage, Diane Rayyan teamed up with crochet master Ishrat Khawja to hold a two day “trocheting” workshop. Weighing just under 20 pounds and made entirely from plastic, the bean bags are sold with other eco-goods to generate funds for low-income Saudi women.
The founder of Fruitful Fusion, Khawja lent her crocheting expertise to the Trochet, an environmental initiative that turns trash into treasure. Albeit slightly cleaner than Egypt or Lebanon, Saudi Arabia is inundated with plastic bags that make their way into waterways, public parks and even remote desert locations.
But there is an important social component to the project as well.
“I believe the mind and the hand have generally lost connection with each other through the years and with Ateeq I am trying to unblock this passage to unleash creativity and innovation,” says Rayyan.
Held at the Rawaj Center in Jeddah, the two day workshop resulted in a line of brain cancer ribbons made from recycled plastic. Dania Al Masri of Jeddah’s Backpack purchased the whole lot of them, which was a tremendous boon for the project.
“Because I can sense the pride in their work, hence empowering them in the least I can do,” Al Masri said of her purchase.
“It is a two-way benefit: If the community supports young entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurs will support the community. I believe empowering one another reinforces great values and it keeps the economy going.”