Just a conference bag? Think again!

Conference bags are very much the black sheep of the meetings sector. First they were blamed for being environmentally unfriendly – in response many producers started to use recyclable materials. Unfortunately however, ‘recyclable’ does not always equal ‘attractive’: because many delegates threw their conference bags away after the event, organisers were advised to look for designs delegates were likely to reuse. During our visit to Sarajevo, Senija and I thought long and hard about a conference bag that was produced ethically, in natural materials, and that would bring a bit of Bosnian sunshine back with the delegates… and we think we have found just the right solution.

The CTS V conference bag will be a bag with a difference, produced by the social enterprise BH Crafts. BH Crafts started as a small organisation in Tuzla, when hundreds of refugees flooded to this town because of the unrest in Srebrenica. Because many women refugees had lost husbands, fathers or sons, this initiative was started to help the women become financially independent. At the same time, BH Crafts offered training, a social network – and perhaps a sense of pride, or renewed purpose. The organisation is now very successful and produces clothes, bags, jewellery, toys etc. Half of the produced articles are transported all over the world.

Not only will every CTS delegate get their own bag to take home – the organisation will also offer their products at a stall during the conference. Every item is one-of-a-kind, and has a label attached with the name of the person who made it. The designs are based on traditional Bosnian patterns with a modern twist. For the real shopaholics there is a BH Crafts shop a mere five minutes away from the conference venue, so we are hoping that those looking for a beautiful souvenir or a thoughtful gift will find inspiration there.
For more information, check http://www.bhcrafts.org/

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