In early 2013, in a small town in rural Kenya, a young woman came across a river that overflowed after a storm. Plastic bags were scattered everywhere. The image shocked her so much, it served as the catalyst that led her to the world of social change. Shortly after, while eating dinner one night with friends, the idea of Plastic Fantastic Kenya was born from this woman’s question “What makes people change?”
Later, in 2013, while attending the Amani Institute, a Social Innovation Management school based in Nairobi, Ciru was challenged to transform her desire to clean up the river into a socially-engaged business. It was then that she was joined by her co-founder and fellow Amani student, Jesah Segal from the US, to help implement the idea.
Beginning as a venture on a mission to draw attention to the plastic pollution crisis by making handcrafts out of plastic waste (known as upcycling), Plastic Fantastic Kenya has since evolved into an educational vehicle that uses waste, mindfulness and art as tools to socially transform children, artisans and consumers.
The Story Behind Our Story
WE BELIEVE that issues such as global warming and economic injustice are not the problems – they are merely the symptoms found downstream from a mistaken view that happiness and fulfillment can be found through consuming more.
Through media and advertising, we are led to believe that happiness lies not here, but over there. We are programmed to believe that “the good life” can be found by drinking Coke, buying a new car, and owning a large house. Making matters worse, unconstrained, unconscious consumption is reinforced by governments as a means to stimulate economic growth. These socioeconomic messages are also embedded in the educational system.
And it is through children’s education and inspired handcrafts that Plastic Fantastic Kenya is on a mission to change the world.
We teach students, artisan groups, and community members, concepts about upcycling and mindfulness techniques.
We co-design and collaborate with professional artisans and designers to create unique jewelry and handbags utilizing upcycled plastic waste that conscious consumers love.