While they worked they quietly chattered, the beautiful flowers they had worked on adorned the desks, their bright petals a delight to behold.
Hard to imagine that not too long ago, these flowers were in fact bottles. Dirty bottles, discarded by many a thoughtless, that the women of PTC’s Women’s Fellowship Programme laid eyes on, and saw gold- hidden treasures in the fast becoming vast wastelands.
Director Sosefo Tigarea shared the women’s trips to the PTC rubbish dump area to look for bottles and things that could be recycled.
‘This is the direction the Women’s programme is following. It supports the Earth Justice Advocacy programme of the College, this is our contribution,’ she said.
Marion Kapu is the wife of Stephen Kapu, a PhD student at PTC. Learning about the ‘magic’ of converting bottles into flowers that then can be placed in vases or converted into wreaths or even just using the bottles to set up miniature gardens has, for her, been a delight.
‘I absolutely enjoy doing this. This is something I can take back home to my community in Solomon Islands and share.
Marion belongs to the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
‘This will help the women in our community to earn some money.’
The Women’s Programme is offers a Certificate in Practical and Life Skills, under which up to ten other trainings are nested like screen printing, carving, baking, traditional Pacific Islands cooking and so forth.
The group training to allows the women to share their talents with another and to assist each other.
‘All these women come here with talents, untapped talents, and they learn to develop that here and we see the creativity grow each week,’ Mrs Tigarea said.
She set out an assignment for the women participants whereby each woman was expected to make a flower (of their choice) our of plastic bottles. On their own, the flowers didn’t look outstanding. But when they were all put together to form a wreath, the result was remarkable.
After they made flowers they designed earings from bottle lids. They even cut the bottles into strips and made purses, pencil cases. It seemed if they thought hard enough, they could conjure a thousand items from a wasted PET bottle. It is a powerful lesson that nothing really is waste and recycling brings out the creative geniuses in almost anyone.
In converting plastic bottles into flowers, the women are learning that everyone can make a positive contribution to the earth. They can also become influencers of change in their communities.