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Louisville ministry helping people in Zambia turn trash into trade skills

RecycloCraftz teaches people how to make crafts from recycled materials. But the ministry goes far beyond just providing jobs for those in need.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In 2007, Tracy Murray moved to Zambia to work at a church. She met a pastor who was making $250 a month. She said that was considered middle-class because most families made about $2 a day. After seeing the daily struggle, she wanted to help.

Tracy started a handbag ministry called RecycloCraftz teaching widows, orphans and the unemployed how to make crafts out of recycled materials like fabric scraps, pages of magazines, and videotape film. When she moved back to Kentucky in 2011, she continued to support the workers in Zambia.

The idea may have started with handbags, but it has grown to include aprons, pillows, and jewelry. What you might throw away, people in Zambia use to create art that they sell in the U.S.

“I like being part of something that’s impacting people on the other side of the world but it’s impacting people here too,” said Emily Hyde, Tracy’s administrative assistant.

“This is not about a purse. This is about a person. That you are bringing hope in a handbag that you are changing people’s lives one purse at a time,” said Tracy. RecycloCraftz products have been sold at local events including WorldFest and other arts and crafts fairs.

Many of the people involved with RecycloCraftz are now able to make money because of the skills they've learned and some have started their own small businesses. The ministry uses a 7-step program to improve the lives of people in Zambia, supporting them not only through jobs, but also by providing safe housing and medical assistance.

RecycloCraftz is always looking for people to get involved. They need volunteers to help in the shop and sell products. The RecycloCraftz boutique is located at 1831 Plantside Drive in Louisville. For more information, you can visit their website or Facebook page.


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