By Itoro Godwin
Nigerian youths must look beyond what they study in school and concentrate on what they enjoy doing with their hands capable of fetching them money and also transfer the knowledge to others still finding it hard to stand on their feet.
Youthful Olamide Ayeni-Babajide, the Creative Design Strategist (CDS), Pearl Recycling, would like that advice to sink in sooner than later. She studied Computer Engineering, but found her passion in creative works of arts like gathering waste products and recycling it into furniture for homes, offices and social functions.
Pearl Recycling, the foremost up-cycling company in Nigeria, held the first Waste Up-cycling Exhibition in Nigeria recently, using it to create awareness for sustainable living and clean environment.
She told Daily Sun, “We lay our hands on any waste products, and we partner with some youths, who provide us with waste, and we pay them so token amount to support them.”
What turned out to be an eye opener for her was when an idea came to her during a trip to the United Arabs Emirates in 2012 where a piece of art that cost several hundreds of dollars was discovered to be made from corn shrubs. “That was the turning point for me,” she admitted.
She has since cut a niche for herself. “We are not like the everyday interior décor merchants, but ours is a different blend of interior crafting, where exquisite office equipment, like shelf, is used to beautify homes. Our personal decors are made from recycled products like woods, bottles and metals, which we turn to wall mirrors, wall frames and flower vase from unused materials,” she disclosed.
Olamide is concerned that, in a world of wasteful usage and global warming, concerted efforts should be made to reduce wastages and help the ozone layer by recycling waste materials into finished works of art.
She has been contributing her quota towards job creation. She said, “Currently, we have trained up to twenty people since inception, and these people have started utilising the skills and knowledge gained in their various localities, encouraging the economy. We are changing the inclination.”
The impetus for her art derives from promoting recycling, she affirmed. “Recycling helps us to convert our old products into new useful products and also helps our environment,” said the artist.