Ocean Sole are a social enterprise based in Kenya. They recycle flipflops into colourful flipflop animals. The flipflops are found littered on the beaches and waterways of Kenya. Flipflops are one of the largest marine pollutants on Kenyan beaches.
It is very bizarre but thousands and thousands of flipflops are washed up onto the East African coast each year creating an environmental disaster. Not only spoiling the natural beauty of our beaches and oceans, but the rubber soles are swallowed & suffocated on by fish & other animals. They also obstruct baby turtles from reaching the sea and are a man-made menace to our fragile ecosystems. Ocean Sole aim to recycle 400,000 flipflops a year.
Ocean Sole works with a team of over 100 individuals. They have skilled artisans in their workshops in Nairobi and teams in remote coastal areas providing much needed employment. The Nairobi team of artisans transform the discarded flipflops into elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos, dolphins, sharks, turtles and more. These colourful masterpieces come with an important message about marine conservation whilst bringing smiles to people all over the world. The fair trade employment is making a real difference to people’s lives. This is what Eric who crafts Rhinos says;
“I was not able to afford shoes and had to borrow some to come to Nairobi to find work. I have been working here for 6 years…I can now afford to send my two children to secondary school and feed and clothe them well. I have set up a small farm upcountry with two cows and I sell the milk to my neighbours to make extra money and it is an investment for my children. The company supports me when I am sick and they pay my doctor’s bills. I say thank you.” Eric Mwandola, Artisan, Rhino Team
But Ocean sole isn’t just about the flip flop animals! They are passionate about the ocean, its ecosystems and marine wildlife. Every single Ocean Sole product is handcrafted to protect the oceans and teach the world about the threats of marine debris. Their profits are used to educate about the importance of looking after the natural environment giving talks and workshops in schools and to community groups.
Be a part of the pollution solution and join us on a flipflop safari!