Natural fibre bilum from the Karamui women’s group in the razor blade design.
Size: 57cm x 48cm
Bilums are the all purpose handbags or shoulder-bags carried by everyone in Papua New Guinea.
Traditional bilums like this one are made from tree and grass fibres made into string and the colored with natural dyes. They should never be washed as the colours will run and the fibre will deteriorate.
We sell bilums to raise money for our health and education projects in the remote highland communities of Paigatasa and Gimi in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. Women from the communities make a bilum handbag or shoulder bag to earn money to send their children to school – Papua New Guinea does not have free education – or to buy household goods or food or other necessities.
We pay them the amount they individually set to cover their labour, which they set with one eye also on the price the bilum would fetch in the bilum market in Goroka next to the Bird of Paradise Hotel. Every bilum is unique, with women giving their own interpretations of traditional and modern patterns. We also buy the synthetic yarn that is used in bilums like this one. By agreement with the women, we then add on an amount with all profits going to health and education projects selected, developed and managed by the communities. The prices we charge vary with the material used, size and complexity of the design.
All the money from the bilum sale goes to the woman who made the bilum and to the community projects. We don’t keep any of it.
See more like this natural fibre bilum at our bilum marketplace.
Read about the health and education community managed projects.
Read the Paiga Story.
Donate to our community developed and managed health and education projects.