A Platform for Innovation and Progress in Eastern Congo

Recycling Conveyor belts


Olivier Maheshe started his shoe making business under a tarpaulin on a tin roof in the Kadutu slum area of Bukavu. He’s moved into a nicer area of town since then, but he’s kept the same resilience and ability to make something out of very little.

Soles for example. Where he lives, everyone wears sandals in the dust and mud and good soles are essential.

Olivier used to work for a company that operates the only mechanised mine in Kivu and remembered they use thick rubber conveyor belts to bring up the ore. He negotiated to buy the old conveyor belts, which he cuts up to make rubber soles. 

The job isn’t actually that simple. The conveyor belt is too thick and heavy for Congolese sandals, so Olivier has to manually split the thickness of the rubber in two. That way the customer gets a good sole and Olivier doubles the value of a cast-off conveyor belt. We respect that kind of innovation.