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Hellena Mashaka Silas: Recycling plastics to keep the environment clean and make a livelihood

HELLENA is among the 24 outstanding entrepreneurs shortlisted for the 4th Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards(CMA) in Tanzania.

Business: RECYCLING OF PLASTIC AND BRICK MAKING

Financier: VICOBA TANZANIA

Location: MWANAGATI KITUNDA, Dar es Salaam

Hellena’s business involves making bricks from waste plastic. It has created job opportunities for the youth and women and goes a long way to save the environment from hazardous plastic pollution. 

HELLENA MASHAKA SAILAS
HELLENA MASHAKA SAILAS

 Hellena started entrepreneurship at the age of 15. She would buy and sell various products. Later on, she decided to commit and concentrate on brick making. She loves a clean environment which is vital for the community to thrive. 

The United Nations reports that by 2050, the amount of plastic will exceed the fish population unless urgent action is taken to reverse the situation. It is sad as only 9% of the plastic produced is recycled. Vikoba loaned her Tsh  300,000 for commissioning her first recycling machine. In the first line production, she managed to earn about Tshs 2million, and there was no turning back. At the moment, her loan limit is Tshs 2million. She does a lot of marketing through social media. Her main customers are individuals and NGOs. 

HELLENA MASHAKA SAILAS

Vision: Increase production from 100 bricks to 500 bricks daily.

Challenges: Use of poor equipment leading to slower production. The demand is currently greater than the production capacity.

Impact: Hellena’s mindset has evolved since starting the business. She earns her livelihood through the business. It also provides employment to others. 

Opinion: Hellena is an environmentalist who takes action and, in the process, creates employment. She also takes calculated risks from researching before embarking on something new.

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