African Woman Uses Paper Waste to Support Her Family

With 10 children to feed, no husband and no means to find employment, Gabaiphe Tlhaloso of Francistown, Botswana was facing tremendous hardships. The single mother is illiterate, making her prospects seem bleak, but not one to lose hope, she began to brainstorm ways to support herself and her family.


Tlhaloso noticed how much paper waste was discarded around her home, and she became inspired to both clean up her neighborhood and put the waste paper to good use. She experimented and found a way to use old newspaper and boxes mixed with stones, grain husks and sand to make handicrafts.


Her beautiful pieces are intended for decorating her home, and she has set up a small shop at a flea market-type event. To decorate her art, Tlhaloso uses watermelon seeds, pebbles and other found items. Her works sell for $23 to $50, which may not seem like much; however, with her profits, she has been able to move her family of 11 from a one-room home to a two-room home.


Tlhaloso is actively trying to inspire other women in the area to put their skills to use to support her families. Her story is an inspiring one that deserves to be shared.

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