Kenyan orphans turn flip flops into life-size animals to raise pollution awareness

A team of orphaned workers in Kenya are turning flip flops into stunning life-size animal sculptures to raise awareness of ocean pollution.

Save the Ocean Art collects and cleans the discarded shoes and transforms them into multi-coloured animals including dolphins, sharks, octopuses, tortoises and seahorses.

The products are handmade by young, unemployed orphan workers from underprivileged areas of Nairobi who are trained by skilled artists.

The team is also behind Save the Environment Art, which uses recycled metal to create life-sized wild animals including elephants, rhinos and giraffes.

The sculptures, which take up to four weeks to create, attracted a loyal customer base in the United States but orders have completely dried up since the start of the pandemic.

Mary Waimatha, from Save the Ocean Art, said: “Our sculptures are made with great care and love from talented artists from underprivileged areas of our community.

“As well as raising awareness of the problem of flip flop pollution, it gives them an income to sustain themselves and their siblings.

“But Covid has hugely affected us and with no income to sustain our artists and projects, our artists are unemployed and staying at home.”

Waimatha is hoping that by raising awareness of the initiative they will be able to attract the small number of customers required in order to begin work again.

For more on the sculptures, visit and or follow @ijit_animal_sculptures on Instagram.

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