Trashy Art

Recycled student African artwork painting.

Recycled art by students, ages six to ten, at a local school includes everything from the Ghana flag in green, yellow and red to a cell phone.

My favorite project has been these change purses–you can see why:

These change purses give kids a chance to create art, clean up Ghana, and learn at school

GGYN student with trashy bags painted change purse

Kofi, from GGYN, shows a beatiful Ghana Flag painting that will be sewn into a change purse by Trashy Bags

African Art Stand's colorful painted sachets, soon to be sewn into change purses by Trashy Bags.

Princess, a GGYN student, adds her painting to the sachets drying in the sunshine.

Trashy Bags will sew this painting into a beautiful change purse.

Issac, a student from a school in Hattso, is paints...funds raised from this school will go to build a community library.

In Ghana, Africa you can’t drink tap water. Everyone buys bags, called “pure water,” and when they are done, they throw them away in the street…or gutter…or bushes. There are plastic bags everywhere. They clog the gutters (causing flooding and malaria) and animals eat them and die. But the bags you see are now beautiful. They are made by schoolchildren like Esther, who love painting them (art is not taught in school and supplies are too expensive), and sold so that they can pay for school fees, especially since education is not free in Ghana—kids pay entry fees, and for uniforms, and books. While painting, the kids learn to care for their environment.

Painting a butterfly at GGYN, where funds raised will support a breakfast program.

Painting a butterfly at GGYN, where funds raised will support a breakfast program.

Recycled Art with African Art Stands: Students painting in School

Students from Challenging Heights School in Winneba paint sachets.

African Art Stands is working with Child’s Cry Foundation International (CCFI), a Ghanaian after school creativity and technology program, to go into schools and teach them about pollution and recycling (an environmental movement is in its infancy in Ghana). We set up a recycling program so that the kids collect their own sachets, and then teach them to paint on the plastic. Afterward, the colorful sachets are turned into change purses by Trashy Bags. The change purses, in turn, raise money for the kids.

Painted plastic water sachets dry on the classroom floor.

Through CCFI, each child gets a bank account. When they reach high school, they can use the money to pay for school fees–education is NOT free in Ghana–or books. Education usually ends (often around middle school) for lack of money. With Global Ghana Youth Network, the money supports a breakfast program (kids usually come to school hungry) or for a volunteer school for youth at risk of child trafficking (with Challenging Heights).

Painting water sachets with a student in Ghana

Prince, at GGYN, takes a break from painting.

We have a blast. Or, at least, I do.

Recycled art: trashy painting with water sachets by Kisseman School.

Butterfly painting, a beautiful example of recycled artwork.


About Sarah Elle

My home is Alaska.
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1 Response to Trashy Art

  1. Maddie says:

    Hey Sarah!
    I know we kind of talked about this last semester, but is there any way that I can get involved by selling them or advertising or whatever on my campus and in my community?? Maybe we can brainstorm some ideas…

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