Zee Bags - Friendship Bench

The Friendship Bench Zee BAGS project began on a small scale with 13 women at Harare Hospital who crocheted bags and baskets made from recycled plastic bags from the local rubbish dump. The plentiful materials, that would otherwise be considered waste, are used to create beautiful, sturdy products that utilise the skills of the local community and are artworks in their own right. 

The CSM project opened this up to include everyday, readily available materials like bottle caps, plastic sheeting and glass bottles to diversify the range of products sold by Friendship Bench Zee BAGS.

The students, based in London, used an online platform to communicate with participants about their research and experimentation and produces clear instructions for making their design to a high standard for the women to use or adapt as they wanted to.

The project offers therapeutic benefits as well as skills development for local women who are living with HIV and require mental health care.

Caroline Broadhead, Programme Leader and Course Leader, BA Jewellery Design:

The students gained a sense of resourcefulness and an awareness of how much imagination, skill and wit is required to achieve high quality work in low quality materials.