Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Zimbabwe, in partnership with Wilderness Safaris, has launched a glass recycling project that has seen a significant reduction of waste material in the region, while simultaneously creating income for local community members. The glass recycling group comprises 15 men from the Ngamo and Ziga villages, who substitute river sand with finely crushed glass material to make breeze blocks which are sold to Wilderness camps, the community and surrounding lodges.
“Inspired by the success of our women’s empowerment projects which have been running since 2011, this group of male volunteers approached us to help them set up a new business of their own. After we produced start-up capital, and the glass crusher was ready, this incredible team wasted no time in getting the job done. After just a few months the product is now selling, the group members are earning a living and they are able to support their families”, said Sue Goatley, CITW Community Liaison and Programme Coordinator for the Zambezi Region.
The project utilises wine and beer bottles collected from Wilderness Safaris camps in Hwange and other surrounding lodges. The coloured bottles are used to substitute river sand in the making of concrete breeze blocks, while the clear bottles are used for bead-making, a project still in its infancy.
Like all community projects facilitated by CITW in this region, the group draws 40% of the total income, with the rest used to cover running costs and to provide start-up capital for any business expansion. In this way the projects are self-sufficient and sustainable. In addition, projects specifically contribute to the reduction of waste within the region by recycling materials such as glass and plastic.
“All of our community empowerment projects are based upon the principle that it essentially takes a village to raise a child. Through our various CITW and community projects we ensure that our learners have an encouraging and enabling environment that makes it easier for them to learn”, added Sue. “It is also true to say that when we contribute to the alleviation of poverty and unemployment in the local communities, we also help mitigate the human-wildlife conflict issues within these areas and encourage the communities to conserve the wildlife and the wilderness”.
During 2017, CITW Zimbabwe supported 10 Eco-Clubs with more than 600 participating learners, hosted 150 Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) programme participants and trained 12 teachers or Eco-Mentors. A total of 195 primary school scholarships were awarded, as well as 71 secondary school scholarships and 17 tertiary education scholarships to students excelling within the CITW Zimbabwe programme. CITW Zimbabwe also has close to 1 000 children on its feeding scheme in the region.
To watch a short CITW video on their inspirational work in Zimbabwe, click here.