Gwanda district entrepreneurs turning “trash” into cash

A group of 10 women and two (2) men from Gwanda District, are turning aluminium and plastic waste into money-making products to eke out a living.

While many rush to dispose aluminium drink cans and plastic bottles after use, Indonsakusa Self Help Group are recycling this waste into aluminium pots, refuse bins, bags and hats.

Through this income generating project, group members are now able to fend for their families’ while promoting hygiene through collecting the discarded waste material.

Sithabile Tshuma (61), the founder of the group, said the waste management project has assisted her to fend for her family since its inception in 2018.

“The money we make through selling our recycled products enables me to buy food supplies and groceries for my children and grandchildren.

“I am now financially independent unlike in the past were I used to constantly borrow money to make ends meet,” she said.

On a good month the group can sell products worth ZAR$15 000 and they have established a nationwide market for their beautiful wares.

Through their hard work the group was fortunate to win the 3rd prize at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Phakama/Simuka Green Enterprize innovation challenge in 2020 under the best waste management business category.

After winning the 3rd prize, ILO partnered with Hand in Hand Zimbabwe which has a strong niche on business training to mentor the group members.

“The mentoring sessions have greatly aided us as we have gained knowledge on how to run a sustainable business

“Our booking keeping skills, customer care services, costing expertise and business acumen have greatly improved.

“We now have a group constitution and have successfully registered our cooperative,” Sithabile said.

The group envisions becoming the biggest suppliers of recycled products in the country.

They have since applied for the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) and hope the capital will help them purchase machinery and build a warehouse to store their products.

Part of their plans also include buying a waste crushing machine which they will use to crush aluminium drink cans to export to other countries.

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