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Toys from reclaimed materials

The design story

Although there are toy factories and shops in Ghana, children still enjoy playing with toys that they have made themselves. There is a strong tradition of toy-making among families - often, young children learn making techniques from their older brothers and sisters.

Most of the children's toys are made from scrap or reclaimed materials - everything from wire and wood to tin cans and old bits of clothing. People in Ghana are used to making the most of their rubbish and looking out for ingenious ways to reuse, recycle and reclaim. In Ghana, 71 per cent of rubbish is compostable, compared to just 28 per cent in England, where most waste is simply dumped in landfill sites. The children also collect materials from plants and trees, such as twigs and leaves, to add to the waste materials.

Although children in Ghana have a very busy day (see below), they still find time to play with the toys that they design and make at school. A particular favourite is to make vehicles, like cars and trucks, which can be pulled along on a piece of string. To find out more about how the children go about making these, click on the next cog.

A day in the life of a child in Ghana

What are schools like in Ghana?

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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