Thousands of conference bags are used in South Africa each year, ranging from paper gift bags to more expensive leather brief cases. Nobody wants to go to a conference and not get a bag for their trouble and papers. However, seasoned conference goers have come very sceptical about conference bags, saying they would rather know something good has been done for someone who desperately needs it, than have yet another bag to stick in the closet. Thanks to DeskBags, everyone can now be happy with their conference bags.

As a seasoned conference goer, Madelain Roscher, managing director of public relations company PR Worx, feels the same. That is why she is happy to make conference bags for her social responsibility initiative, DeskBags, from recycled vinyl used to make billboards.

“I started DeskBags after I heard that about 3.1 million children in South African schools do not have desks to work on, and they often live in informal settlements where there is also no space for them to do their schoolwork. Using the vinyl, which is not biodegradable and would normally end up in landfill sites, we not only create school and conference bags but we also create sustainable jobs for seamstresses and pattern cutters from our local community,” says Madelain.

The flap of the bag is reinforced with ABS plastic to create a hard, stable working surface when it is folded open. The bags are also waterproof to protect books in bad weather and has a reflective strip sown on to ensure that children who walk to school and back in the dark are visible.

In addition to contributing to education, DeskBags is committed to preserving the environment. “It is also important for us to be involved in a sustainable programme that benefits the environment. Landfills negatively impact the environment because they are one of the major producers of methane gas which is one of the main causes of the greenhouse effect that is changing our climate. Our contribution is therefore also aimed at reducing the amount of waste in landfills,” adds fellow DeskBags founder and Miss Earth South Africa national finalist, Shannon Roscher.

Shannon concludes that it is important that corporates contribute to looking after the environment as well as contributing to education in their social responsibility initiatives. “This ensures that our children inherit Earth in good condition and have the skills to look after themselves and the planet. Every time someone orders one of the bags for a conference, a DeskBag is automatically donated to a child in need of a school desk. Companies’ own billboards can be used and their logos can be printed on the bags to create visibility and awareness of their corporate social investment activities.”

For more information on how you can get involved with DeskBags, visit or contact them on 011 896 1818.