Where there’s tea, there’s hope. This slogan greets visitors on the website of a small initiative that turned into a massive success. Original T-bag Designs started with one woman’s dream to uplift a community and continues to sustain multiple families through work and development.

When Jill Heyes moved to South Africa from England years ago, she was saddened by the level of unemployment and poverty in Hout Bay, where she lived. She started teaching residents of the Imizamo Yethu Township crafts using something cheap and simple: tea bags.

Today, her workshop employs 20 permanent artists making and selling greeting cards, table decor, wall art and countless other items made from used tea bags they receive as donations.


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Not only does this initiative provide employment and financial income in the community, it also stimulates creativity through teaching new skills and giving joy and dignity to those who design, make and buy the products.

The craftsmen and women who make these beautiful items are always in need of tea bags to continue the work they do. To donate used tea bags, shop, or just browse, visit them at Klein Kronendal, 144 Main Road, Hout Bay. For more information, visit their website here

Picture: Facebook/Original T-bag Designs



Article written by

Anita Froneman