After our recent screening of 10×10′s film Girl Rising, many of our WYSK friends asked us how they can contribute. One great and super stylish way is through The Catrinka Project, a new socially responsible accessories label founded by WYSKs Megan Reilly Cayten, Amisha Patel and Sumana Setty. The three friends decided to transform their passion for female empowerment and education into something tangible… an artisanal handbag collection designed specifically to raise funds for 10×10′s global action campaign to support girls’ education around the world.
“We have nieces and in Megan’s case, a daughter, whose nickname is Catrinka. We wanted to do something tangible in the name of our girls, for other girls far away, who face far greater challenges,” Megan, Amisha and Sumana explain on their website. “When we heard the stories of girls who have risen from extreme poverty to new hopes and dreams because someone helped them go to school, we just knew we wanted our first collection to be part of the 10×10 movement.”
The collection’s “country” bags are made with locally sourced materials, by socially responsible artisan groups that are woman-owned, woman-managed, or that predominantly employ women. Through the 10×10 Fund for Girls Education, 100% of proceeds from the sale of each bag will be invested in educating girls in the countries where the bags were made: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, Peru, Sierra Leone and Uganda. They have also designed a tote for 10×10 to raise funds for their NGO partners.
Catrinka is currently selling its first 7 bags with its online retail partner L-atitude, with the last three bags of the collection becoming available for sale by the summer. Styles currently include clutches, totes and cross-body bags, ranging in price from $20-$195.
“We hope that we will be able to build Catrinka into a business focused on making fabulous, textile-based bags and other accessories that employ women and send girls to school. We’d like to introduce a few new country bags every year, and also build a wholesale business with retail partners who can help us to scale sufficiently so that we can be sustainable,” says Megan.
The Catrinka Project is the ultimate fusion of humanitarian efforts and timeless trends. Buy a bag, employ a woman and educate a girl, it’s that easy.