News

    Group in Kenya Makes Objects of Beauty Out of Trash

    Disposing of garbage and waste is a problem in many parts of Kenya. In the western Kenyan city of Kisumu, the Zingira Nyanza group is hoping to reduce the amount of garbage by making objects of beauty out of plastic bags, tin cans, and other discarded materials. Cathy Majtenyi visited the group and filed this report for VOA.

    Lucy Okudo braids strips from old plastic bags into a rope. She collected the plastic bags from streets and garbage dumps in her neighborhood in Kisumu.

    She winds the rope around a wooden frame to make a basket. Okudo has been creating baskets out of plastic bags for almost eight years.

    She says it's a win-win situation. "I saw the need of cleaning up the environment and picking up polythene bags. I wanted to pick up the polythene bags and earn a living from it. That is why I came up with the (basket) product, to be able to feed my family and at the same time clean the environment," Okudo said. 

    Across town, Richard Omolo makes objects from metal sheets. He smoothes the rough edges. By using scrap metal, Omolo says he is saving more than just the environment.

    "If the metal sheets are thrown away, they can cut children who are playing within the dumping area,” Omolo said. “That is why it was ideal to approach the companies and get the metal sheets from them to make good products."

    Omolo and Okudo are members of Zingira Nyanza, it's a 25-member group creating objects of beauty out of trash.

    Young men, hired by the group, gather plastic bags and other discarded objects from a nearby dump.

    The group also purchases metal sheets from soft drink and beer companies looking to get rid of defective bottle cap designs.

    With the materials, members make a wide range of products like necklaces made out of magazines, toys, mobiles, and jewelry boxes.

    Furniture and lampshades are fashioned from water hyacinth fibers.

    Water hyacinth is considered a danger to Lake Victoria.  It cuts off oxygen and sunlight to the lake's plants and fish.

    The group has put the maligned plant to good use.

    Evance Odhiambo, a former gardener, founded Zingira Nyanza eight years ago.

    "I wanted to create job opportunities for the youth, staying within this community, and I saw the need of cleaning up the environment, and I wanted to do that in a creative way by having people earning a living from cleaning the environment," Odhiambo said.

    He started off by recycling paper, and then used the paper to make greeting cards.

    He then recruited and trained young people to make the cards, and eventually other products.

    Zingira Nyanza now employs more than 40 artisans. 

    Odhiambo says he encourages them to create their own designs. "We realize that many of the youths around are so creative and their minds are just lying fallow.  No one is giving them a chance to come up with their designs," Odhiambo said.

    Odhiambo has big dreams.  He hopes to sell the group's jewelry, toys and other objects in Europe, North America, and beyond.

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.