Caroline Sherman first saw Bilum bags in 2014 at the Pacific Trade and Invests annual show. The exhibition, titled 'Marketi Ples' showcased all of the traditional craft of the Pacific Region. Caroline was struck by their beauty and then of course started talking with the weavers. That was just the beginning of this ongoing relationship.
Since 2014, Among Equals has worked with communities across PNG, including but not limited to Goroka, Mt. Hagen, Telefomin and Madang. Through the trade of bilum we have also funded the construction of The Blue Haus, a safe shelter for the women to weave and produce Bilum bags.
“If you are buying a bilum through Among Equals, you are buying a bilum that has a very big downstream. It goes back to our village and our community. One bilum benefits 10-15 people. It’s not about charity, you are giving business to us.”
FLORENCE JAUKAE KAMEL
Among Equals works closely with a number of community leaders across the highlands of PNG. Pivotal to these sustained relationships are Florence Jaukae Kamel, who has become an Ambassador for Among Equals, as well as Barbara Pagasa, our Ambassador for the MT Hagen region.
We have also developed a strong relationship is Caleb Jarvis, the Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Pacific Region and Pacific Trade Invest. This agency supports economic opportunities in the Pacific Islands by facilitating trade and attracting investment into the region.
“When there is money coming into their pockets they see it makes a difference, we can see it puts food on the table, nice decent clothes to wear and they can go to school with the money they earn. I am so proud because I can see the light coming at the end of the tunnel”.