15 October 2014 is International Day of Rural Women; a day focussing on celebrating rural women that makes a significant difference in enhancing agriculture, improving food security, eradicating poverty and developing rural communities. On this day, Collect-a-Can recognises and salutes the inspirational women from a local community recycling project that is changing the lives of the Watville community, a township south of Benoni.
Watville Ithuseng Recycling Co-op Ltd is managed by ten dedicated women who wanted to make a difference in developing the community of Watville. The project focuses on transforming waste into beautiful artwork, creating employment opportunities and educating the community about the importance of a clean and healthy environment.
“There was a high unemployment rate in Watville and children were playing at the dangerous dumping sites. We didn’t want to wait for someone to help us or continue to let our children suffer. We decided to stand together and start this recycling project,” says Nthabiseng Mohoto, public relations manager.
This project teaches its members basic craft skills to create products from recyclable waste. The products, including floor mats, plate mats, room dividers and handbags are sold to the local community. This project is an economic injection for the local community and provides jobs for 500 individuals who were previously unemployed.
Watville Ithiseng Recycling Co-op Ltd. was also recognised for their inspiring work in developing the community by using recyclable waste when they won the Recycling Award, sponsored by Collect-a-Can, at the annual Eco-logic Awards that took place on 17 September 2014.
“It is rewarding to see how we change the lives of ordinary people. Some members opened their own ventures after learning the basic arts and craft skills from this project,” mentions Mohoto.
The women from Watville Ithuseng Recycling Co-op Ltd. have great plans for the next year or two to develop and grow their recycling project and to continue making a sustainable difference in the community of Watville. “We would like to have our own buy-back centre where the community can sell their recyclable waste to us. We also aim to open our own craft centre where our crafts and other items can be sold to the broader public,” she says.
“It is important for all communities, especially the disadvantaged, to understand that waste has value and that it creates an opportunity for individuals to start their own ventures,” says Zimasa Velaphi, public relations and marketing manager of the can recovery and recycling organisation, Collect-a-Can.
For more information on Watville Ithuseng Recycling Co-op Ltd., please contact Nthabiseng Mohoto on 073 346 7682. To find out how to get involved in waste recovery and recycling visit Collect-a-Can’s website or contact the Collect-a-Can head office on 011 466 2939. Collect-a-Can is also on Facebook, Twitter.