Hands of Honour: Creating Employment through Upcycling unwanted goods

Hands of Honour: Creating Employment through Upcycling unwanted goods – Be inspired

In a nutshell

Hands of Honour’s Creating Employment through Upcycling initiative provides employment for marginalised men and uplifts communities in South Africa, through upcycling obsolete stock and recyclable items into something of value. Of the profits made from selling the upcycled products, 50% is used for the workers’ salaries and 50% is used to fund community upliftment projects in marginalised communities. 

What we do

According to the latest statistics, R1,7-billion worth of obsolete stock and waste heads to landfill in South Africa every year. Sadly, South Africa is 30 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to effective waste management and has no plan in place to improve these circumstances.

Hands of Honour is already to using this challenge as a great opportunity for socioeconomic development, by creating jobs and businesses, transforming derelict spaces and reducing reliance on declining natural resources, all the while creating beautiful furniture and learning environments for children in need.

How we do it

Creating Employment through Upcycling creates employment through upcycling corporate waste, which is usually headed for landfills. Hands of Honour collects obsolete stock or anything deemed as ”junk” by individuals and companies. Through collecting and recycling this obsolete stock, Hands of Honour

  • saves individuals and corporations on waste disposal costs;
  • benefits the environment through waste removal and recycling;
  • creates employment opportunities; and
  • benefits local communities by creating employment and reducing crime.

Corporations are the main providers of this obsolete stock or waste, “donating” their obsolete stock rather than send them on to landfills. Using the waste materials, Hands of Honour’s employees create wooden furniture, as well as mobile libraries to serve as learning environments. The upcycling programme is simple yet creates jobs and transforms both waste or obsolete stock and derelict spaces. Fifty percent of the profits made from upcycled goods are used for salaries while the other fifty percent is used to fund projects that improve their communities such as creating food gardens and upgrading early learning centres.

What we have achieved

  • Nine full and part-time jobs have been created;
  • Eleven negative spaces have been transformed into productive ones.
  • A portion of our profits are used to pay the annual school fees of ten poor children in our community.
  • Many men have come through our upcycling programme and have gone onto become upstanding role models in their communities and society in general. One particular success story stands out, Leyton Fillies, a former prison gang member who used to live in a car before coming to Hands of Honour, is now travelling all over South Africa as a Manager for a large company.
  • We have distributed 0ver 50 of our ward winning early learning tool ,the African ECD Classroom on Wheels to 50 poor early learning centres,impacting about 800 children

What we have learned

We have learned that early learning is vital if a child is not to be caught up in the downward spiral of gangs and drugs. Studies have shown that early readers continue to get higher grades than their peers through grade school. Reading and early childhood development programs open the door to a child's early academic success as well as success later on as an adult. 

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