Meet the Zakale Creation Project

"Zakale” in Swahili means “old." Zakale Creation Project uses traditional arts to rejuvenate its community.  John Mucheru Kang'ara founded the project in 2002, after he left the handicraft company, Heritage, where he got his training as a designer.

He recruits young people in the Huruma slum of Nairobi from lives of crime or drugs, teaching them to create jewelry from garbage.  But more than that, he wants to “teach them the process of living.”  His workers, 19-25 years old, clock in from 8 to 5 everyday - a routine many have never experienced before. “Once they change their lives, then we bring them in,” says John. Conservation to Zakale means community education; they hold environmental workshops in the slum, and they gather children to collect the town's garbage every week. “We use what cannot be digested by the environment,” says John; they use copper wire from construction sites and sort through garbage to find raw materials. They don’t use wood because “trees are life to us,” working with metal and beads instead.  Through their partnership with ACK, they hope to reach out to a larger community to spread awareness and revitalize the Huruma slums.

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