May 23, 2011

Workshop #1- Desktop Dismantling

Today at 3:00pm (Kenya time) we started our first ever electronic waste workshop. It was a huge success. Granted in the very beginning we were very nervous and second guessing our abilities because prior to the workshop we had an introduction of our plan, and all we had were ten sets of eyes staring blankly at us. But, to our surprise twenty students attended the workshop and they were very enthusiastic about what we had to show them. One of the students, Dave, made a pair of earrings made from springs found in a floppy drive. He is a wonderful artist, and very creative. Dave’s schooling is actually sponsored by a student at Penn State University–Berks. All of the students are looking forward to tomorrow’s workshop. This experience wasn’t just great and eye opening for the children, but for all the members of the team. The two teachers of today’s workshop were Josh and Jeff; and they shared with me their experience:

What were your expectations prior to today’s workshop?

Jeff: Thought that the entire plan would fail based on the experience the day before.

Josh: He feared that the children would not find worth, importance, or entertaining

What did they find most difficult about today?

Jeff: The most difficult was the technical language barrier and not being able to grab the concept therefore quickly losing interest.

Josh: Just being able to simplify the concept to make it more understanding to the youth.

If you can change anything, what would it be?

Jeff: Having a larger selection of pictures and tools.

Josh: Adding more pictures with descriptions into the training book.

What have you learned from today’s workshop?

Jeff: That the youth have the want to learn more.

Josh: Learned that the Kenyan youth are very intuitive, more driven, and they learn very quickly.

The following are photos from the first workshop:

This is the first piece of e-waste jewelry created by David, a students at the CYEC.

by Krystle

May 24, 2011

Workshop #2- Introduction to jewelry

Today’s workshop was very hands-on, and the children found it very entertaining. With the computer parts that they helped dismantle during yesterday’s workshop; they were able to create something to their liking. Many children made bracelets from keyboard keys, ribbon cable and the CPU holder. It was absolutely amazing to see the children run wild with their imagination. They used the parts and the tools to create pieces we could have never imagined. Some of the girls made bracelets and rings from wire and even a pair of earring from RAM chips. Today was just a good day to get their creativity flowing, and to just have a good time.

Final products created by the children:

by Krystle

May 25, 2011

Workshop #3

Today while Linda was working on the IT and Virtual Computing project and unfortunately Jeff was ill; Josh and I had to man the workshop today. It went pretty smoothly. We brought in another junk computer and allowed the children to dismantle in on their own. Josh focused on assisting the youth in the handling of tools and identifying parts of the computer.

I focused on trying to engage the girls as much as possible. I assisted them in making bracelets from an iron core inductor, necklaces, and earrings. Overall today was a day for the kids to become more acquainted with the parts and to let their creativity run wild.

 by Krystle

May 27, 2011

Workshop #4

Today’s workshop we split the group into two separate groups; cheetahs and lions. We provided some paper and crayons, and told the children to create a sketch of a design they would like Jeff and Josh to cut from a circuit board. The kids were very creative with their designs. Some wanted their piece in the shape of Africa, Kenya and even a duck. Today’s workshop was definitely a different pace and atmosphere.

During our next workshop on Tuesday May 31, 2011, we will show them their pre-cut designs and they can create anything they would like. At the end of Tuesday’s workshop we will have a little contest about whose overall design was best and the winner will receive a small prize. It is a great bridge to connect today’s workshop with Tuesday’s.  It is something they are looking forward too.

by Krystle

May 31, 2011

Workshop #5- Training the trainers

Today’s workshop was a very special and important one. While the members of JKAUT were visiting both the Creative Minds team and the CYEC we decided to train the students that will now follow through with this project once we are back in the States. Plenty of information was discussed between both groups. We spoke about prices for the products; more specifically we found out that 1200 ksh is a fair price for a hard drive clock (which was a huge hit!); that will bring in a fair profit for each clock sold. Jeff showed them how to put the clock together, and answered whatever questions and concerns they had. The students discovered the process of smelting the materials that may have value, in hope to use them in a different form. All of the students were excited and had such great ideas. Willis (one of the students) was very interested; he wants to help network the CYEC with other companies as well as sources in Japan for hazardous materials. Both Wilfrida and Christine were just ready to get their hands dirty and wanted to start creating jewelry. This goes to show that even the women have interest. There biggest concern is the disposal of both the plastics and the toxins; which with time will hopefully be resolved and have a plan in action. Before their departure the department head, faculty, and students were presented with a hard drive clock which put a huge smile on everyone’s faces. They were impressed and overly grateful about what they had just received. Like everyone here in Kenya, our visitors from JKAUT were very nice and a pleasure to speak with.

by Krystle

June 1, 2011

Today was our last and final workshop; which was a very bittersweet moment. We had a visit from the University of Nairobi- Fab Lab. Dr. Kauau Gacchigi and four students: Barrz Yassin, Juliet Wanyin, Roy Ombatti, and Marian Muthui, hosted their own workshop with the youth here at the CYEC. What they showed the children was called “The Pico Cricket,” it is a program that shows how engineers work and how things are made. They taught the youth how to make a robot and how to give it commands using a special software and simple body functions. (ie if you clap your hands, the robot moves) The children from the center seemed to have enjoyed this very much. They showed much interest and were very grateful for their visit.

Afterwards, the Creative Minds team had their last and final workshop. We showed them the pieces that they drew out on paper and was cut out from circuit board. We then showed them the final project and briefly explained how easily it can be done. They were very impressed. This was than followed by a presentation of the hard drive clock to Dr. Kauau Gacchigi by the Creative Minds team and one of the children from the center; Dr. Gacchigi was very grateful for the gift he received. Before we dismissed our final workshop, the children were given a survey based on their experience during the workshops. All of the children unanimously agreed that they would love to continue with the making of e-waste jewelry. They also said that their favorite part of this entire process was learning how to take apart computers and “creating something out of nothing.”

by Krystle



  1. Jeff and Josh,
    Maybe our FYS Engineering classes could work on some Work Instructions for future workshops.

  2. This was a great experience and eye opening too. Looking at how the students transformed e-waste to beautiful jewelry created a zeal in me, and tones of ideas came flowing.Great work guys!!!


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