News / Africa

Women in Kenyan Dump Use Garbage to Create Money-Making Art


A women’s group living in a Kenyan trash dump is on the verge of setting up a European market to sell the crafts they produce from mounds of steaming, stinking garbage.

The Menyore Women’s Group has been performing magic for 16 years by turning garbage into works of art. And the proceeds have opened the door to education for their children.

Chairwoman Lucy Wambui Mwangi
Chairwoman Lucy Wambui Mwangi
Chairwoman Lucy Wambui Mwangi says It is an honorable life that she highly recommends. “We are very happy to recycle. Some of the women wait for their husbands to support them and some women go to the bar, drink, and do immoral things. I raised five children and have grandchildren -- I am so happy when they visit me. In society, we are recycling -- we are turning bad things into good things, and we thank God for that,” she said.

Mwangi and her 29 colleagues live in this sprawling garbage dump on the outskirts of the Kenyan town of Nakuru.

This morning, she and her team pick out nuggets of gold: mostly polythene bags and detergent packages.

They return to their compound and begin scrubbing the materials they will use to make their various curios.

The women then fold, twist, cut, roll, knot and weave the cleaned trash into a wide variety of shapes and colors.

Chairwoman Mwangi describes their creative process. “We work based on colors most of the time. We choose colors that white people from abroad like, so we base everything on color. White people like certain colors. We choose things that are very beautiful, that we think they can like.”

The women sell most of their products in their compound to tourists who visit the dumpsite. There are also outlets in Nakuru and South Africa.

Mike Brawan is a nominated councilor in Nakuru and founder of a church here. He worked with the women to launch the group in 1995. “The place has a lot of diseases and sicknesses and the life span over there is very, very short. So I thought we can do something with them that can bring some income rather than them just being there and being beggars.”

He says the next step is for the women to go international. “When I go to Britain I can carry a bag full of necklaces, and now we are getting a market over there, that is willing to open a small market, which we can start selling those necklaces and those bags, and the money can come straight-away to the women and change their life,” Brawan stated.

Brawan says the business has funded hundreds of dumpsite children to attend primary school. Almost 40 study in secondary schools and one is a student at the University of Nairobi, a feat Brawan calls a “big, big blessing.”

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid