A Stowmarket charity has built fresh water wells, furnished a school and built new hygienic toilet blocks in villages in Gambia – by recycling old ink cartridges.
Inking About Africa was set up in September 2011 by Faye McSloy, 30, and her partner Mark Hickie, 33, after they visited the West African country and fell in love with it.
On their return, the couple set about installing drop boxes in the area for people to dump their old printer cartridges, later taking them to be recycled and sending the money for projects in Africa.
Faye said the look on the children’s faces was worth the effort.
She said: “We recycle the cartridges and the money we raise goes to better their education. Mark had done a rally, driving from here to Gambia and ended up loving it so persuaded me to go and visit it too.
“We started working with the Stowmarket Lions and together refurnished a school with tables and chairs.
“The teachers have said the children’s education has been much better since.
“We went out there when it was delivered – it is a pretty good feeling to know the smallest amount can make such a big difference to people’s lives.”
So far, with help from Faye’s mum Christine and friend Kathy Couldridge, the charity has raised more than £7,000 for projects in Africa, recycling around 1,000 ink cartridges a year.
Faye said: “There are more than 31 million ink cartridges that go to landfill every year in Britain.
“I work in an office and know how easy it is for people to throw them away when they are empty.”
Drop boxes can be found at Stowmarket Tourist Information Centre, Co-op in Combs, Mid Suffolk District Council Offices, Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre and the Range in Ipswich. For more information on Inking for Africa and to donate to the cause visit www.inkingaboutafrica.org