Recycling Project Gets New Digs

by Lisa Fernandez

New recycling building now complete in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. In February 2004, I had the pleasure of spending eight days in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, helping to construct a badly needed building for the Recycling Project of Familias Especiales. Familias Especiales is an organization spearheaded by Sister Rebecca Trujillo, which serves more than 800 variously handicapped children and young people, and their families. One of their programs, the Matagalpa Recycling Project, provides employment to youth who are otherwise unable to find work due to their disabilities. Working with a mother who offers support and supervision, these young people collect recyclable paper and cardboard from businesses and offices in Matagalpa and the surrounding community. They clean and sort the paper to sell to a recycling firm in Managua. Until last winter, the Recycling Project operated out of an inadequate building which did not provide the needed space or conditions for sorting and cleaning paper.

Youth sort paper and cardboard in spacious, airy new digs. When Familias Especiales proposed that SRW help build a roofed warehouse, two of SRWs stalwart supporters and volunteers, Henry Bassett and Duane Huibregtse, offered to fund the entire project. I traveled to Matagalpa to participate in the startup, and offer assistance and support. It was a great experience! Wielding pickaxes and shovels, several young men cleared the land and prepared the foundation for the building. I took my turn with pickax and shovel, and also drove a truck which transported materials and workers to and from the work site each day. I wasnt able to stay to see the structure completed, but Im happy to report that today the Matagalpa Recycling Project has a brand new building with room for sorting and storing. The young people who work in the Recycling Project are pleased that they can do their job much more comfortably and efficiently.

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