English | Deutsch ||
Delivery Destination:
|| Help

Volvo tin toys - works of art from garbage

06.12.2021

For many decades, poor but clever constructors in Madagascar have already been assembling the ideal ECO car. Street children also bend their playmobiles themselves from cans, wire and spray cans. The creative idea of this recycling art was taken up by CAN CARS and further developed into a production. Especially the recycled sheet metal models including a Volvo PV544 have aroused our interest.

The transformation of the cans.

After a thorough cleaning of the raw material, the bottoms and lids of the cans are removed. In the process, we already try to cut out funny basic patterns with the most beautiful motifs and graphics.
The models are composed of many individual parts, such as the roof, fenders and doors. For each type, in each size, the producer makes himself a set of templates during the first sample production. These templates are then used, guarded as a personal "trade secret", for marking out and cutting out during subsequent series production. The work steps of cleaning, cutting and scribing are often done by the women or young people of the families. The cut out, individual body parts are then brought by the artist personally, with different tools, by bending and folding into the necessary form.

The most time-consuming part is the clean soldering of the parts to the finished CAN CAR. Like all operations, this is done without any use of machines and gives the iconic objects its unmistakable character. The producers shape the later appearance, the gap and the quality of the models through their experience and a lot of skill. Soldering is done with local tin and homemade soldering irons in a charcoal fire, on which often stands the rice pot.


In local toy manufactories, civilization garbage, lovingly transformed, gets a new value again. The fair direct trade with ATO TÜV currently secures income for over 120 people and preserves traditional crafts. All our sheet metal models from residual materials are limited unique specimens.

About the background

Uwe Marschall was a guest in Madagascar at that time in the context of the development aid and with the round course by the capital of Madagascar immediately the many homeless children struck him, they lay together at walls in groups, only little dressed and snuggled together. He saw children playing with toys made from garbage and an idea came to him.
Based on his 7 years of work as a development worker in Madagascar, Uwe Marschall founded his fair trade company MAHAFALY in 1998.

In close cooperation with local family businesses, the goal is to support traditional handicrafts and to establish niche products, especially from recycled materials, on the local market. All processing stages up to packaging remain in the developing country, exploitative intermediate trade has been eliminated. Fixed contracts, interest-free loans, and price increases according to the cost-of-living index strengthen the producers' will to help themselves and ensure them a steady income.
The products are unique in the world and can be bought, among others, through the online store MAHAFALY as well as the store " Übersee Mahafaly " in Heringsdorf on Usedom, which was founded in 2013. Here you can find from hornware, mother of pearl to wooden objects even precious stones, fossils and fabric items.

Madagascar is one of the ten poorest countries in the world and so the garbage of the rich still provides a small source of income for the many needy people. Whether empty lighters, broken dolls, crooked nails or old syringes, everything that finds a buyer has a value ! Material poverty favors this effective circular economy. The old can becomes the new raw material ! The landfill becomes a construction market !

The producers of CAN CARS have always formed unique sheet metal models from these cans in unbelievable creativity. When the cheaper mass-produced goods from the Far East reached Madagascar as a plastic glut, the production of tin toys in such manufactories died. MAHAFALY revived this tradition with its fair trade project and ensures increasing and good sales.

MAHAFALY supports through donations the street children project MANDA, gives scholarships and ensures direct family help in Madagascar.

A visit on the website or in the store on Usedom is worthwhile in any case and gives Uwe Marschall as well as the people of Madagascar a smile in the face.

If you want to learn more about the topic, you can find more information at www.mahafaly.de and on Uwe Marschall's YouTube channel.

Additional information...