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Recycling to riches



…How a young lady makes money by keeping Lesotho clean…

QACHA’S NEK – WHERE others see waste, Reanetse Tšabello sees a fortune.
Pick and use is her motto, as she embarks on an environmental journey that not only seeks to keep the country clean but earn her some money as well.
At just 19, Tšabello is on a mission of plastic bags recycling to make handbags.
Aspiring to be a nurse one day, Tšabello says her “no-waste mind-set” originated from the idea of keeping the environment clean as she realised that plastics were one of the things that polluted the environment.
‘‘I am obsessed with eradicating plastic waste and ending wastefulness,’’ she says.

It started as a hobby, she says. And it was only in January this year when she ventured into the business to keep herself busy and entertained.
‘‘It is all about creativity and passion,’’ she says.
She says that the first item she knitted was a mat, then a bag which she showed to her mother who encouraged her to make more bags.
‘‘She said that it looked beautiful and some people would love to own one,’’ says Tšabello.
She says she uses her knitting crotchet to make bags from a combination of plastics with sacks.
Tšabello says it takes at least 50 plastic bags to make one bag.
She says her pricing depends on the size of the bag and she is still on the hunt for a steady market although she already has some orders.
“It is difficult to make many bags as I have to collect the plastics myself and it is so not easy to find lots of plastics and wash them,’’ she said.

At one time, she considered buying plastics but lack of capital stifled the plan.
“Other people have suggested bringing their own plastics to make my work easier,’’ she says.
Tšabello says she has been a “hands on” person since childhood.
She says her primary school days somehow influenced her as she learnt using the crotchet in the Home Economics subject in standard four.
Tšabello says she believes all she needs is a strong support system to keep her going.
‘‘That way, I will be able to deal with any challenge that may come my way,’’ she says.
She says she is hopeful that her business will someday grow to a point where she will be able to employ some of the country’s unemployed youths as well as take care of her mother.

“In three years’ time, I am positive it will be flourishing.’’
Tšabello called on to other youths with entrepreneurial abilities ‘‘not to be lazy to start small with the little they have.’’
‘‘Let’s use the change we have to transform our ideas into sustainable businesses not only for us but for our societies as well,’’ she says.
Her mother, ’Malieakae Tšabello, says her daughter grew up in love with nursing but was was not accepted to study General Nursing at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). She advised her daughter to persuade her talent.
‘‘My daughter is very talented and I couldn’t let such talent go to waste,’’ she says.
She says she was impressed when she first saw the first bag.
‘‘I decided to take it to my workplace and my colleagues showed interest as well,’’ she says. ‘‘I am glad that she takes her job seriously”.

’Mapule Motsopa


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