One person's trash is this woman's quilt. See this successful business made out of scraps.

People called her a mad woman — until they saw what she was creating.

In Nigeria, Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale has built a business by creating beautiful products — out of trash.


All images via Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale, used with permission.


What is this? It's a quilt!


A quilt made from scraps of discarded fabric.

Olutosin's inventive quilts, shopping bags, and more are crafted from colorful fabric scraps that tailors have thrown away.

The beautiful products are carefully handmade by women who have survived abuse — who, like the fabric scraps, have been cast aside by society.

She told Upworthy, "I am a survivor of domestic violence [so] when I became emancipated, I decided to help willing women to transform their lives too. That's why I started 'Tosin's Turn Trash to Treasure'; [to] turn abused women to assets."


Olutosin's belief in the resourcefulness of Nigerian women and her outlook on life — finding treasure in what others consider trash — are creating positive waves across Nigeria.

Through Facebook, Olutosin has met people from across the globe who agree with her that these discarded scraps from local tailors really are treasure, not trash. The organization World Pulse, a social networking platform connecting women worldwide for change, has launched Olutosin into an online community full of support, business opportunities, and love.

"Facebook has help[ed] me to showcase our products, advertising to potential customers and connected me to more than thousands global sisters who love and support my dream," she shared with Upworthy in an email.

When it comes to the circumstances of the women she employs, the impact goes beyond the women themselves, she said — it's helping their whole families.

She said of the women working with her: "They can make healthy choices now. They can create alternative avenues for finances and they can lead their own daughters aright too."

Olutosin recognized that a workspace of their own would be necessary. "We realized that we needed our own space when many women who love to join our training do not have accommodation [in] Lagos," she said.

The success of Olutosin’s business led to her meeting Sharon, who lives in the U.K., through Facebook. Sharon bought some property in the riverside community of Ibasa, Nigeria, and gave it to Olutosin. Olutosin has never met her, but Sharon's generosity is making a huge difference by making a space for women to work, learn, and mobilize a reality.


It may seem like one woman's business creating quilts from scraps. But Olutosin has bigger dreams for the work coming out of her enterprise.

She wants to sew a new reality for women.

"I wish to build a Treasure Women Town. A paradise for women and girls. Where violence against women will be a thing unheard of. Where gender equality will be the normal way of life."

And with dreams like that and a proven ability to make things happen, who wouldn't cheer her on?

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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