Kenyan NGO turns flip flops into art to raise awareness of pollution

Nairobi, Oct 7 (EFE).- A non-profit in Kenya is raising awareness of pollution and empowering local communities by turning flip flops found along beaches and waterways into art.

Ocean Sole was founded by Julie Church, who was inspired by children making makeshift toys out of discarded flip flops in Kenya’s coastal region.

Church started encouraging mothers to collect, wash and design the abandoned flip flops into pieces of art and colorful products that they could then sell at local markets.

The project not only raises awareness of the widespread pollution and waste across Kenyan beaches and waterways, but also provides extra income for local families.

“Kenya has a very high unemployment rate, so Ocean Sole has created a platform where we have suppliers who collect the flip flops for us and then we pay them packages on what they bring,” marketing coordinator at Ocean Sole, Maureen Simba, tells Epa-Efe.

“This helps them to be able to sustain their families and take care of themselves as well,” she continues to say.

Ocean Sole has also set up a program to educate local communities about conservation.

“We have regular weekly beach cleanups at the coast of Kenya where we have engaged local communities in the beach cleanup exercises,” Simba says.

“This is also a way of empowering them and teaching them how they can conserve the environment.”

Ocean Sole aims to recycle up to one million flip flops per year, one tonne of styrofoam per month, and over 500 trees per year.

The enterprise has impacted over 1,000 Kenyans through collectors of flip flops and direct employees. EFE


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