Bend woman traveling to turn trash into hope

Will teach 'upcycle' business model to women in Guatemala

Bend woman turns trash into hope

BEND, Ore. - What looks like trash to many is plastic waiting to become art for Sara Wiener of Bend.

"Carrot bags, bread bags, potato bags and I'm going to fuse them with heat," said Wiener, who owns Sara Bella Upcycled in Bend.

She has been making bags and dresses out of trash for five years. Now, she has the opportunity to help women in Guatemala.

Wiener was contacted by the nonprofit organization "Safe Passage" to teach women living in Dump City to use the garbage surrounding them.

"Using these skills and develop an actual project where they'll developing their own designs -- making products, selling them to locals as well as tourists and finding their way out of the dump, hopefully," Wiener said Thursday.

It is not the first time Wiener has helped other by teaching her craft. She traveled to Mexico and helped people develop their own business.

And the project in Guatemala will not be her last.

"It combines my passion for art with my passion for the environment and doing something good for the environment, keeping the bags out of the landfills and out of the waterways," Wiener said. "And it also enables me to do projects with people in other countries and teach them how to develop their own business."

Two Bend High School seniors, including Wiener's daughter, will accompany her on the trip to Dump City. NewsChannel 21 will follow up with them once they return.

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