Greatness from grain: How Buy Rice Back serve up the fashionable choice

Social Enterprise Buy Rice Back turn old rice sacks into colourful accessories – with the profits invested in the care and education of children in southern India. You can buy their products from The Big Issue Shop

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit India, brightly coloured rice bags scattered throughout the bustling streets of major cities or abandoned along a rough rural track are not too peculiar a sight – nor even, is their reuse as mats, scrap material, or other household items.

Why should these beautifully designed sacks be left as a stomping ground for someone’s feet, left limp and lifeless at the side of a dirt road, or worse, end up as landfill fodder? The designs and vivid colours adorning the sacks are art unto themselves – something recognised by social enterprise Buy Rice Back.

Buy Rice Back tote bag

Buy Rice Back up-cycle and breathe new life into these unique sacks – turning them into totes, shoppers, and other accessories, with each purchase contributing to the fair wage paid to their tailor Karthick, as well as supporting the work of sister charity, My Name Is Kumar.

My Name Is Kumar might strike some as an odd choice to name a charity dedicated to developing the care and education of children in southern India.

Just one of their tote bags can pay for 148 meals of rice for the children

The charity developed its name when co-founders Renee and Tom had been escorting two young Indian boys, Satish and Saravanan to visit nearby schools. Growing increasingly frustrated by a speech impediment and the difficulties it presented when trying to pronounce his own name, Satish stood up during his final school visit of the day, looked at the principle squarely and announced, “My name is Kumar.”

To date, the charity provides care and education to nearly 80 children in the south of India who would otherwise have been forced into begging. Their ethos supports the idea that education is the most effective tool to break the cycle of poverty. Each purchase from Buy Rice Back goes towards continuing the charity’s efforts in supporting educational and community development projects.

With no two items the same, each Buy Rice Back item is individual and handmade, making them completely unique to you. Just one of their tote bags can pay for 148 meals of rice for the children supported by the charity. You can pick up one for yourself at The Big Issue Shop.

Woman with Buy Rice Back tote bag