Inspired by a plastic bag’s potential, nonprofit trains mothers in Ghana
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Friends Rebecca Brandt and Callie Brauel quickly learned two things while they were studying and volunteering in Ghana’s capital Accra: Everyone drinks water out of disposable bags, which end up discarded in the streets, and tens of thousands of children were living on the streets.
The women thought they could do something about both.
They, along with Emmanuel Tetteh Quarmyne, a Ghanaian who Brauel met at an NGO management class at the University of Ghana, joined forces to create a mock nonprofit for a classroom assignment. The nonprofit would recycle the used water bags, and give the homeless youth a safe and dependable way to earn a living by making marketable products from the bags.
Their project turned into reality when the three founded the nonprofit A Ban Against Neglect, or ABAN, in 2008 to help young mothers in poverty train for a job.
“We saw these two pieces of the puzzle that a lot of society saw as lower class citizens, but really they have so much potential,” said Brandt, 26. “Same with the plastic waste. How can we take something that seemed to have no value and give it value.”