BlueSky Recycling is comprised of full-time employees and a growing network of plus or minus 400 pickers. Of these pickers many are townships mamas looking for a reliable source of income or a way to make ends meet month to month. Empowerment is the key to BlueSky’s initiative. The stories of these pickers and employees differ, but all share the knowledge that they can contribute to bluer skies for all.
For a closer look into the inner workings of BlueSky, click on the link below and watch the video:
Here are some of our stories:
At the heart of BlueSky Recycling is Team Leader, John McKerry. John came onto the BlueSky team in 2006 in the organization’s infancy. He has played a major role in the growth of BlueSky due to his ability to garner trust-based relationships with township mamas and businesses alike. His reliability, along with his passion for bettering the lives of those around him, have made him one of BlueSky’s greatest assets.
Having experienced periods of unemployment himself, John fully understands the impact this kind of program can have in the townships.
“It’s an awakening of one’s self. Instead of asking for handouts at the government level or begging at big business, a person should ask himself ‘What can I do for myself?’ If you can keep somebody’s dignity intact and teach a person just the basics of how to take it forward, the sky’s the limit.” -John McKerry
Mama Agnes is one of Khayelitsha’s most successful pickers. Through her involvement with BlueSky, she has been able to grow her car wash business and has transformed into an influential personality in the community. She and her daughter work together to collect their recyclables in the main stretch behind their home, a space commonly used for braais, after the crowds die down at night.
Mama Agnes is one of the first pickers to be trained in the Buy Back program that BlueSky is implementing. This program allows her to act as the middle man between pickers and collectors, such as John, making the process flow more smoothly while providing Mama Agnes with another business opportunity. Mama Agnes is an emerging business leader in her community and BlueSky is helping her reach her goals.
Mama Elizabeth is another prominent and hard working personality working with BlueSky. Her commitment to recycling for BlueSky has allowed her to upgrade her life drastically. She originally lived in a shack, but thanks to the money she has earned as a picker, she has been able to build a home for herself. She has been making it into the comfortable home she desires, bit by bit, as she continues to be successful with BlueSky.
Her hard work has not gone unnoticed. Other individuals and companies have approached her to work with them on recycling, but she maintains her loyalty to BlueSky. She knows that she can trust Team Leader, John McKerry, and his employees to be reliable.
“[Other recycling collectors] come to me. They want my stuff. I say, ‘No. This stuff is stuff for John.’” -Mama Elizabeth
Her focus and commitment have made her another candidate for the Buy Back program, which will allow her to empower herself in the community even more. BlueSky hopes to grow to help more women like Elizabeth to find success.