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Turning Kenya’s trash into treasure

Plastic can take hundreds, even thousands of years to break down in the environment. In Kenya, communities are struggling to cope with the thousands of tons of waste being generated each year.

Despite having grown up in a slum littered with trash, 28-year-old Lorna Ruto developed a passion for taking care of the natural environment. 

Now her passion has become her business, turning plastic waste from the city of Nairobi into something useful – fence posts. Her goal is not only to grow a successful company, but also to provide her community with much-needed jobs.

Listen to the report by Andrew Wasike in Nairobi, Kenya:

Turning Kenya’s trash into treasure

Lorna Ruto

Lorna Ruto was tired of seeing trash in her neighborhood – so she came up with an efficient way of cleaning it up (Photo: Andrew Wasike)

Employees sorting plastic

The first step is gathering and sorting reusable plastics (Photo: Andrew Wasike)

Employees manning the machines

Then the old plastic is processed in Lorna’s factory (Photo: Andrew Wasike)

Plastic poles

Here’s the result: sturdy and sustainable fence posts (Photo: Andrew Wasike)

Lorna and Charles

Charles Kalama, pictured here with Lorna, is a co-founder of Eco Post (Photo: Andrew Wasike)

Lorna at work with client

Lorna not only makes the fence posts, she then has to sell them; she’s pictured here with a client (Photo: Andrew Wasike)

Date

Tuesday 15.10.2013 | 14:39

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Changing lives through dance in Kenya

Dance can changes lives. This is the philosophy of volunteer Amrei Krings. One-and-a-half years ago, she started planning a dance workshop to empower sex workers in Kenya and founded the organization Maua in order to realize her idea.

This summer, her dream became a reality. While the dance workshop was a success, the project wasn’t easy for Amrei, who had to learn some tough lessons about trust and cultural differences.

Listen to the report by Falk Steinborn in Naivasha, Kenya:

Changing lives through dance in Kenya

Visit Amrei’s organization, Maua, on Facebook.

 

Amrei Krings

Amrei Krings was responsible for everything behind the scenes, so didn’t have much time left to dance herself (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Maua dancers

Dance instructor Charles practices with the women and a group of young men that came twice to help out. On Fridays the workshop was open to everybody in Naivasha in order to integrate the sex workers into the community of the villagers. (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Maua meeting

Amrei has some stress with the partner organization on location (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Maua dancers

The dancers are getting prepared for the final show (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Amrei Krings

Amrei’s aim was to give the women a new sense of themselves (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Maua participants

After the workshop in the morning, Amrei leads a meeting in the afternoon in order to prepare the final show (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Benedetta Reuter

Dance teacher Benedetta Reuter gives some instructions to the women to make bigger and braver movements (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

 

Date

Tuesday 10.09.2013 | 13:14

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Somali refugee combats extremism with hiphop

Islamist militants fighting in Somalia are trying hard to recruit young Somalis. But a young refugee, Shiine Ali, is determined to turn his peers away from Islamic extremism – with his hiphop music.

Listen to the report by Zoe Flood in Eastleigh, Kenya:

Somali refugee combats extremism with hiphop

CDs

Sometimes a song can do more than entertain

Date

Tuesday 26.03.2013 | 13:57

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Dance empowers Kenyan prostitutes

Two young Germans believe dance can change lives and are bringing a holistic dance program to prostitutes in Kenya with an organization called Maua. They not only want to restore the women’s self-confidence, but also meet their medical needs.

Maua co-founders Amrei Krings and Maren Haferkamp join Pulse hosts Kate Müser and Helen Whittle in the studio:

Dance empowers Kenyan prostitutes

 

A group of women, including sex workers, in Naivasha work on a water tank

Prostitutes in Naivasha offer themselves on the streets to workers in the flower industry

The dance workshop will take place in August 2013 in this church

Maua co-founders Maren Haferkamp and Amrei Krings joined DW in the studio

Visit Maua’s website for more information.

Follow Maua on Facebook.

Date

Tuesday 29.01.2013 | 14:30

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Nairobi photographer inspires political activism

Nairobi photographer Boniface Mwangi is fed up with his country’s politicians. To raise awareness, he’s taking an in-your-face approach with a graffiti campaign, political art show and online newspaper.

Listen to the report by Lucas Laursen, with Mike Elkin, in Nairobi:

Nairobi photographer inspires political activism

Photos by Mike Elkin:

Boniface Mwangi

Boniface Mwangi is moving from the street to the internet

Related links:

Boniface Mwangi’s homepage
The traveling photo exhibit Picha Mtaani
Collaborative art space Pawa 254
Mwangi’s new online newspaper Mavulture

Date

Tuesday 20.11.2012 | 13:25

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Crossing continents to reach kids in a Nairobi slum

Their lives couldn’t be more different, but Amelia in France and Regynnah in Kenya have the same goal: to make life better for kids in Nairobi’s largest slum who’ve been orphaned by AIDS.

Listen to the report by Nik Martin from Lyon:

Crossing continents to reach kids in a Nairobi slum

More on the Angels of Hope Kibera website.

Kids drinking water in the Kibera slum

Conditions in Kibera are rudimentary

Date

Tuesday 23.10.2012 | 12:40

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Young climate activists in Kenya

After graduating from high school, most people look to start a career, but DW catches up with a few young people who have different plans: saving the environment. Volunteers from around the globe are helping the Kenyan environmental organization Ecofinder improve conditions around Africa’s Lake Victoria. Global warming, population growth, and deforestation on the lake’s shores have all increased environmental stress in the region.

Watch the video:

Date

Thursday 04.10.2012 | 08:47

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Giving Kenyans a voice of their own

For outsiders, the slums in Africa’s big cities seem like a world away. The media usually reports only the most horrific stories. But a couple of Kenyan journalists say that it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of making movies about slum dwellers, they’d rather help these young people become media professionals themselves.

Watch this DW video for more.

Date

Thursday 12.07.2012 | 08:28

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One-legged cyclist inspires others to ride

Dedan Ireri in Nairobi, Kenya, is all about bicycles. They are his hobby and also his profession. Maybe one day, a bicycle ride will earn him international recognition in sports. But Dedan Ireri is also on a mission: he wants to help others to take up cycling.

Listen to the report by Peter Hille:

One legged cyclist inspires others to ride

DW’s Peter Hille met Dedan while completing a cycling trip of his own – from Cairo all the way to Cape Town. Follow along with Peter’s adventures on his blog.

Date

Tuesday 10.04.2012 | 11:54

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Kenyan environmentalist gives butterflies a future

Emily from Kenya protects the butterfly species that are native to the area. She works with the local young people, raising awareness of the butterflies and of the importance of protecting the environment.

Kenyan environmentalist gives butterflies a future

Learn more about the Kakamega Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) here.

This report is part of Deutsche Welle’s Learning by Ear series. For lots more informative and inspiring stories, visit the Learning by Ear website.

Date

Tuesday 03.01.2012 | 14:59

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