Both Action Bag and Eastern Screen Printer(ESP) were formed in 1971 preceding the War of Independence between East & West Pakistan.
The 9-month long war resulted in over 1 million casualties and ultimately led to the formation of Bangladesh. Saidpur, a small town in the Northern region of Bangladesh, was home to numerous refugees. Among them were the displaced Bihari people, originally of Pakistan. After the war, the Bihari people became what they called “the forgotten ones.” They were offered no government assistance and remained essentially without identities. In 1976, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) visited the ravaged area of Saidpur. Recognizing the dire need for aid and assistance, MCC helped form job creation programs in the region. Thus, handicraft production became a means of earning income and rebuilding the lives of the Bihari.
Since that turbulent time, Action Bag & Eastern Screen Printers have grown from a humble group of 10 women in a small space, to over 200 women in a bustling and friendly production house. They are able to work under dignified and respectful conditions as well as earn a fair wage that helps them and their families prosper.
Growth & Independence:
Due to the incredible success of both Action Bag & ESP, they have recently grown financially independent and no longer need assistance under the MCC umbrella. Currently, Action Bag & ESP combined, have become their own entity: Saidpur Enterprises. The have acquired their own export license and continue to grow as a integral part of the community.
At Azadi Project, we have been so impressed with the skill and craft of both groups. The beauty of ESP screen printing technique and the quality of Action Bag’s construction are second to none. We look forward to continually working with both groups and building lasting partner relationships.