This CNN Hero upcycles old computers to open new worlds for young Kenyans
In Kenya, people are very resourceful. They use things you find in your home or yard: rags, rubber tubing wrapped with bits of metal, even plastic or cotton balls. Sometimes you have to search to find these things in the trash. But in a new documentary, CNN Heroes, one woman in East Africa is using old machines to create a better future for her people.
It’s a little bit like the Robin Hood story. The difference, of course, is that Robin Hood didn’t just rob the rich or take their money. Instead, he transformed that money — and the resources that enabled it — to help others.
In Kenya, CNN Heroes (part of the CNN Heroes series from CNN) follows Ebechukwu Nyonana, a 26-year-old man who lives in a village in Kenya’s Western Rift Valley.
For most of his young life Ebeukhu worked in construction. He grew up in a house made out of scrap metal.
“It would get broken or we would use it to make a new roof,” he said. I mean, that’s what it means to be poor in this part of East Africa.
He helped rebuild the roof of his grandmother’s house when, he said, “we couldn’t afford to do it.”
He’s had to struggle in and out of school to support his family.
But he has a plan. He says he wants to build a school for his village.
That’s where the scrap came in.
He started by buying scrap metal. He even built his own lathe — the type of one-handed lathe you have to use to make something, like an ornate box, or a lathe used by blacksmiths. He built a small lathe. Then he made his first lathe from scratch.
He now has an iron lathe made out of a two-liter plastic water bottle. He’s also taken steps to make a better lathe. He’s making the