Ecobrickers in Bloemfontein, South Africa have made their own couch! That’s right, using nothing but plastic “waste” and bottles, members of the Boitekong Protective Workshop, made this super funky (and surprisingly comfortable) centerpiece to their QPT Qala Phelang Tala main office.  Led by Vuyane Phaliso and Anita Venter, the creation is getting lots of use… and attention!

Boitekong is a day care centre, for intellectually impaired youths and adults.  Anita and Vuyane have been working with the youths for almost a year.  Ecobricking has been a key method of engaging them to enrich their community and personal spaces.  Ecobricking has given them a place for used plastic and building blocks to create.


Vuyane Phaliso and Sydney Roda sit on their innovation at the Boitekong Protective Workshop- run by the Free State Department of Mental Health

Anita, a fulltime researcher at the Centre for Development Support at the University of the Free State, has been mentoring Vuyane in his leadership role at daycare to ecobrick.  Vuyane, a ‘Change Agent‘, is piloting the Start Living Green 5 steps sustainable life skills programme at Boitekong. They started with a cob Peace Earth Bench, and now they’ve moved indoors with this first Ecobrick couch.

Occupational therapists who have been observing the project are astonished to see how all the attendees (from the lowest functioning to the most confident) are involved in the process. No one is left out and everyone have a role to play. According to Anita “The eco-building skills are not only valuable to township communities have also opened up another world of possibilities for our youth.”

In July, Jessica Olney, a Global Ecobrick Alliance Trainer, passed through with the Peace Exchange Students from Chicago.  The Chicago students learned how to ecobrick from the Boitekong members. Jess then showed the group how to make ecobrick modules.

According to Anita “Since then Boitekong has taken ownership of project and are constantly evolving with new ideas what they want to build next!”

sa group