Upcycle training in Alexandra!

Upcycle training in the Alexandra township in Jhb, started with Pinset Masons attorneys sponsoring a training initiative in the community with a group of people with disabilities associated with the Women of Peace centre.

The men and woman of the centre have physical and mental disabilities and are in need of something to keep them busy and motivated.

Upcycle facilitates a variety of training and skill development in various communities through its core function of reinventing waste into usable quality products and making sure that waste avoids landfill as much as possible. This is a critical intervention for not only the preservation of our environment, but also for reigniting dignity for the individual and the community

Training focus by Upcycle in Alexandra

Waste is the primary source of crafting materials as this lowers the cost for the group to create product and increases the chances of the project becoming a successful venture for the centre.

The group have some challenges with learning and implementation and so we have adjusted the training for the group with something they are familiar with, rather than changing the medium each time.

Instead of giving the group a wide range of skills and a wide range of waste product knowledge, we focus on many products from one waste product, namely paper.

This gives the group time to perfect their skills and ideas that we teach them, and they can practice during the time that we are not doing training.

A central focus of training the Upcycle way is to have facilities available as frequently as possible for the participants in the group so they can keep making products between the spacing of the training programme. It is in the making of products and ideas that skills are instilled further, to be able to craft professional product streams.

Upcycle assists the process of business development for the group to deliver for market ready products.

The community of people with disabilities are trained through the Women of Peace centre and are committed to making this project work and can spend time at the centre practising and making products.

We feel that they are able to make products that can be sold and are therefore focusing on end products.

Here are some product types that are in the Upcycle training workshop.

Upcycle training includes continuous mentorship alongside the scaling up of development of crafting skills. Business mentorship includes the development of professional end market products to assessing market related trends and how to position the products within spaces for sale. Marketing and awareness of the training facility, products created and the individual participants from the group is facilitated by Upcycle Creative.

After one of the first Upcycle training sessions, this lady was so inspired by what she had learnt that she went home and started mass producing her own range of paper bead jewellery.



She was most inspired by the fact that she did not need to spend money to make the beads & she was able to produce a large number for stock because she did not have a need to outlay finances to get her business going.

She also liked the fact that the products are small and she can make this in the little space she has available at home.

Upcycle offers businesses opportunity to tap into this cycle by commissioning products for their corporate gifts made from the Alexandra project.

Upcycle creative also facilitates design thinking, leading team buildings based on crafting intervention for teams.

May Mafoko is an Upcycle trainer and has been actively training in Alexandra in the space called Women of Peace. May has been facilitating skill training with people that have mental and physical disabilities in Alexandra township for a long period of time. Currently he trains with a group every second week at the Women of Peace Centre.


May’s personal reflection of the importance of skill transfer to enable economic self-sustainability for people with disabilities is, “A person with a disability thinks just like one without. In the process of training paper mache, one of the participants suggested that everyone focuses on their skill strength in the production line so that when orders are received the production process is streamlined. Another of the participants mentioned that of all the people who have come to do training, Upcycle is one of the only training providers that are consistent in doing training.”

May says of dignity created through training and development that the commitment to the training gives them something to look forward to as they are building on a skill that they would usually not have access to. They have a reason to wake up.

Upcycle actively trains the processes of creating products from waste material in communities like, Alexandra, Orange Farm, Swaneville and Westbury.

There are funding opportunities available to accelerate the training reach in communities.

These networks of enterprise development programmes are there to make your social and environmental off set an impact on livelihoods that are at stake of dissolving into a system where they do not count. These Upcycle community reach programmes network dignity.


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