LAUREN Day was scrolling through Facebook one day when something caught her eye.
It was the story of a man who is teaching kids in Cambodia – free of charge – to give them the best possible shot at adult life.
After a lot of thought, and a little trial and error, Lauren found the way she could contribute – and Lauren’s tote bags were born.
The man in Cambodia’s name is Jimmy Chan. He grew up in Cambodia and taught himself enough English to make it to university.
“He realised when he was quite young, if he didn’t do something with himself he was going to be stuck there for ever,” Lauren said.
“So what he did was set himself up where all the tourists would go and chatted to them and slowly began to learn English.”
Jimmy completed a teaching degree and wanted to give back to Cambodia with a goal of helping as many children as possible access the education that he did. Through this dream he started ‘Jimmy Chan’s Village School’, where he teaches 95 children over two classes per night throughout the week.
“I thought I can contribute to this so I went and started a funding page but no one was really donating,” Lauren said.
“Then I went to the supermarket one day and they were talking about getting rid of plastic bags, so I thought I could make some bags.”
The idea sounded perfect but Lauren was facing a few minor problems: she had no materials, no sewing machine, and she actually had no idea how to sew.
“Thank god I’m the school bus driver and have had the last six weeks off because I have had to teach myself how to sew.
“I went down to the shops and bought myself a sewing machine and now I can’t leave the thing.”
Lauren has been getting all her materials from the op shop in town and once she has sewn them, the bags are being sold at A Gaggle of Geese.
“I really do thank them for letting me put some bags in there to sell. They are $5 – I wanted to keep them reasonably priced so everyone could buy one.
“Every cent goes over to the Jimmy Chan Village School and I have raised $100 so far.”
The bags can be used for day to day activities as well as shopping bags.
To donate to Jimmy Chan’s Village School head to chuffed.org/project/jimmys-village-school-cambodia or visit A Gaggle of Geese to grab your own bag.