Trash To Treasure (South Africa)
An informal settlement of people relocated from other areas of Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area, the community of Joe Slovo Township has rallied together despite ongoing threats of displacement. Statistics from Sophakama, a community-based organization, show some of their challenges:
The Role of N4
N4 ran a Story Exchange in Joe Slovo Township. The Story Exchange identified the shared problems of food insecurity, littered public spaces, and a lack of self-esteem from being unable to provide for oneself and family. Community activist and N4 facilitator Zukiswa Allah worked with N4 to answer the question, What if people were able to gather recyclables and trade them for food? All three problems that emerged in the Story Exchange could be addressed at once.
"Trash to Treasure brings dignity to our community. Many of our people are experiencing a lot of depression because of different circumstances but unemployment and poverty is at the forefront resulting in alcohol and drug abuse. This project has the power to save and change lives, one trash trade at a time." Zukiswa Allah
Local activist Zukiswa Allah knows the psychological impact firsthand and the research that shows removing trash improves mental health and decreases crime.
Locals bringing trash to the center
Trading trash for food
The Trash to Treasure initiative, Joe Slovo Township, South Africa, has been so successful that the uses of the community center are expanding beyond its initial purpose of trading trash for groceries to job training, childcare, and more to come!