For many, bones and horns from animals are waste.
But it is this trash that a self-help group in Kibera, Nairobi called Tenancy considers gold by making bone jewelry for sale.
The 50 artisans’ source for cow, goat and camel bones and horns from a supplier who gathers them from eateries in Eastleigh, Umoja and Burma Market. The bones are then cleaned and dried before they are delivered at the Tenancy’s workshop where the creatives get to work.
The ivory-coloured bones and horns are cut into smaller pieces, carved, shaped, and polished into various ornaments like bangles, earrings, necklaces and beads and used as accessories for household items and cutlery such as cooking stick handles, spoons and knives.
Perhaps the hardest part of their job is working on the bench grinders – an electric rotating motor on which a grinder, blade, circular sandpaper or other tool can be fixed.
The products once polished are packed ready for sale at handicraft markets such as the Maasai Market in Nairobi as well as in Thika and Nakuru. These products are also sold across the borders in Uganda and Tanzania.
Last year, the Tenancy Self-Help Group successfully applied for the Ndoto Zetu grantfrom the Safaricom Foundation.to get additional bench grinders worth KES200, 000.
Wycliffe Pete, the chairman of the group, says the new grinders will support the group to take on more jobs and deliver faster and more efficiently. Wycliffe says the group can now offer more apprenticeship opportunities to build the capacity of others in their community. This year, the Safaricom Foundation has set aside KSh100 million for Ndoto Zetu, you can apply here.