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paper bag simulation game (copied from programme of the month scouts.org)


Paper - lots and lots


Activity name: The Paper Bag simulation
Short description: To learn about how current global economic systems are pressuring children and families to work long hard days for very little money in some areas of the world. The conditions are forcing families around the world, living and working in incredibly poor conditions, to resort to child labour, prostitution and dangerous jobs.
Equipment: Glue
Announcement list
‘How to make a paper bag’ cards
Family shopping list
Family Shopping List (POL 61002 060910 Family Shopping List.pdf Source: GAPP (original idea STC/CAFOD))
How to make a paper bag (POL 61002 060910 How to make a paper bag.pdf Source: GAPP)
Shopkeeper announcement (POL 61002 060910 Shopkeeper announcements.pdf Source: GAPP)
Duration: From 30 minutes to 40 minutes
Numbers: Whole section
Location: Indoor
Instructions: - Divide the Colony into groups of about five or six, explain that each group represents a family living in a crowded and poor shantytown in Kolkata, India. There is a huge demand for paper bags, which are mainly made by women and children from the poorest families. (Some bag makers buy their paper from warehouses, which are called go-downs. Others collect it free from local households. Boiling water and flour, and adding an anti-fungal chemical makes the glue.)
- In real life, paper bags are sold in batches of 22, called gistas. On average, one child makes 200 bags a day, earning up to 1.5 rupees per gista – that’s 13 rupees (less than 18 pence) a day. For the purposes of this game, the figure has been rounded up to one rupee per batch of ten bags – meaning that however poor the players feel at the end of the game, the real-life situation for the bag makers is even worse.
- Tell the groups that they have to survive for a day by making and selling as many paper bags as possible. They have 30 minutes. Show the groups how to make a bag, then ask them to start making bags. Each time a batch of ten bags is ready, a group member should take them to the shopkeeper (you) to sell, while the others continue making bags for the next batch. The shopkeeper checks that each bag is properly made, and makes a note of how much the group has made.
- Read out the announcements randomly – they change the conditions each group is working under. Each group keeps its own checked bags. With younger children it is easier if the shopkeeper keeps the bags and notes down how many each group produces. Note how the groups organise themselves. Some will operate a production line with each member specialising in one task; in other groups individuals will make their own.
- When they have finished making bags, donÂ’t let them wash their hands straight away. Point out that many bag makers donÂ’t have the luxury of soap and running water.


- Look at the family shopping list, what they would buy first with their money and why?
- What are the priorities?
- What cant they afford?
- Who did survive? Who didnÂ’t survive?
- What would it feel like to make paper bags all day every day?
- Did any groups join together? Why? Did it mean you could make more bags?
Why a
Additional Information: Try to recycle all the paper used in this activity.
Programme zone(s) : Outdoor and Adventure
Method(s): Make things
Explore their world


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