At Upcycle That we love hearing of amazing upcycle projects around the world. These vinyl banner bags are made in Kigali, Rwanda. The brand that makes them is called Angaza. It was founded by two young women in 2012.
Angaza is a Swahili word that means illuminate or to shed light upon. In 2012, co-founders Monica Umwari and Maria Mayanja were inspired to get involved with the green economy in Rwanda. They had seen vinyl banner bags made in Kenya and knew that advertising banners made from PVC vinyl were readily available in Rwanda. Additionally, there was no current mechanism for reusing this waste. These types of banners release toxins when recycling is attempted. So, inspired by vinyl banner bags they Kenya, the pair were inspired to start a similar project in Kigali, Rwanda.
Monica and Maria are committed to contributing to a cleaner and greener Rwanda. They get the PVC vinyl material from companies that are finished using the banners.
We want to show people that something new can be made from the things that we already have, without depleting natural resources. We want to create solutions to local environmental problems with the people. We want them to own their environment, to understand it, to love it so much that they preserve it for their descendants.
The current setup for Angaza is that Monica and Maria wash the vinyl banners themselves to prepare them to become vinyl banner bags. They then employ two tailors on a part time basis to do the sewing. Their dream is to one day have a workshop and provide employment opportunities to those that need it in their community.
The Angaza vinyl banner bags are functional and made for daily wear. Monica and Maria hope their upcycled brand will motivate Rwandans to do more with what they already have. We think that the Angaza message is an inspiring story for people not just in Rwanda, but all around the world.
See more Angaza