Ghana Volunteers Launch Water Sachet Recycling Project
One of the most frequent things new volunteers are surprised by in Ghana is that water is commonly sold in plastic bag sachets instead of bottles. Water sachets saleswomen are everywhere in Ghana, and in the tremendous heat you will find that you drink a staggering amount in just one day. You’ll also quickly learn the skill of opening the sachet with your teeth and not spilling it all!
Each sachet costs roughly 5 pence, however, the cost to the environment is far greater. Since December 2012, Projects Abroad Ghana and its volunteers have recognised this, and are now working together with the patients of the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital to do something proactive about it.
The creative concept is to make the empty water sachets into fashionable items such as bags or purses, the sachets are often coated with iconic images such as President Obama. This benefits both the environment and the patients. The impact to the environment is obvious, and the Projects Abroad volunteers’ role is to simply collect as many sachets as they can, to prevent the unwanted build-up of litter.
The impact to the patients is less obvious, however no less substantial. By way of occupational therapy the patients themselves can work on the process of first drying, then stitching the sachets and fabric together to create these practical and vibrant items. These items can then be sold to the tourist market, with the proceeds being put back into the hospital to improve the standard of patient care and facilities.
All in all, it is a win-win situation for the environment, the patients and the volunteers; with all involved having great fun whilst taking part! Take a look at this online video for a volunteer’s account of the project in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oypf1-ocZOM