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Upcycled South African rugby balls create jobs and clean up streets

Nonprofit & Social Cause

TOUCH trains unemployed seamstresses to make rugby balls using waste plastic bags and recycled billboards.

We’ve seen numerous initiatives on the Springwise virtual pages that aim to tackle unemployment in poor communities, and recently Paperflops in Indonesia approached this by employing disabled people to make flipflops from waste newspaper. In a similar vein, TOUCH in South Africa is training unemployed seamstresses to make rugby balls from recycled materials, addressing the problems of waste and unemployment simultaneously. TOUCH is sponsored by EnviroServ, a waste management company which hopes to harness the excitement from the Rugby World Cup 2011 to encourage community involvement in the project. Women who have backgrounds as seamstresses, but have been unemployed for a period of time, receive training and equipment to make the TOUCH rugby balls. The balls themselves are made from recycled billboards and stuffed with 25 to 30 plastics bags collected from the streets by the community. The project hopes to educate people about the possibilities created by re-using waste and the opportunities it presents for employment. Seamstresses are paid for every ball that matches the TOUCH quality standards, and Russel Porteous, Founder of job creation NGO “LIVE” which supplies the industrial sewing machines used in production, says women can earn up to ZAR 200 a day. A TOUCH ball retails for ZAR 50, with ZAR 30 being invested back into the community and covering the LIVE operating costs. Environmental waste and unemployment are concerns that affect cities worldwide. Could a similar initiative clean up streets and create jobs near you? Spotted by: Hosia Modiga


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