Zimbabwean Billionaire Hails Kibra Resident Making Money From Waste

  • FD
    Zimbabwean Billionaire Strive Masiyiwa (left) Kibera Slum (centre) and Wycliffe Oduor (Right)
  • Zimbabwean Billionaire and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa has hailed a young Kenyan from Kibra who turned waste into an income-generating venture.

    Wyclife Oluoch, who was born and bred in Kibra slums, began collecting empty beer cans as a teenager in a bid to reduce environmental pollution in the densely populated slum.

    What caught the eye of Masiyiwa is how Oluoch together with his two friends, one named Wycliffe and the other Savior, embarked on a mission to tackle pollution and poverty in their neighbourhood. Unlike other collectors who would sell the cans as scrap metal, the three converted the metal into art, which they sold.

    sd b
    An image Zimbabwean Billionaire and philanthropist, Strive Masiyiwa
    Innovation Village

    "Their solution was to recycle rubbish like old beer cans and transform it into metal artwork to sell to make money for themselves and families," the tech billionaire wrote.

    Oluoch then formed Sun Valley Art Collective, which would be later used to teach art skills to other youth.

    The founder of Econet Global was impressed by Oluoch's resilience, especially by how he overcame life's challenges to make an impact on other people's lives and the environment. Masiyiwa referred to him as a born survivor.

    Just before he turned two, Oluoch was trapped in an inferno in his Kibera home. In a densely populated neighbourhood that was highly inaccessible due to the crowded structures, any help would take longer than usual. 

    Against all odds, he survived, though with scars that would forever become part of his life. 

    Oluoch sustained serious burn wounds and had to be put under the knife 17 times to treat the scars. His tribulations did not end at that.

    As he grew up, he soon became a victim of bullying because of the nature of his skin. For a while, his cousin stepped in to defend him, but he would soon be left to face his antagonists alone when his cousin died.

    He found solace in trash cans as he wanted to make a difference in the world. Staying true to the proverbial 'if you want a clean world, begin by sweeping your doorstep', he began with his neighbourhood.

    Today, Oluoch and his friends have greatly reduced pollution from metallic waste in Kibra. In addition, they have also impacted the lives of other youth by equipping them with skills that will help them generate money.

    The Zimbabwean billionaire urged his followers to borrow a leaf from Oluoch's book.

    "Be the person who tries to help those being bullied and who gives support. And also be the innovator who not just picks up the trash, but also imagines its opportunities for you as an entrepreneur.

    "Whatever you do, don’t be part of the problem!" Masiyiwa concluded.

    Wycliffe Oluoch poses for a photo with a piece of artwork made from reused beer cans.
    Wycliffe Oluoch