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