From Trash to Treasure

May 27, 2012 • Haiti

Trash is a major problem in Haiti. Tons of it clogs canals and streams, causing disease-carrying, polluted waters to stagnate in densely populated communities. Garbage heaps up on roadsides. It washes out to sea and up onto the country’s beaches.

Unemployment is another major problem in Haiti. It was one of the poorest countries in the world before the earthquake in January 2010. Conditions are worse since.

Samaritan’s Purse devised a program to help combat both problems. Through Ramase Lajan (Picking up Money), Haitians collect plastic, bottles, and other recyclables, and turn them into centers where they receive cash.

Kenol St. George is one of the men participating in the program.

“I’ve been collecting bottles for about two months now,” he said. “Today I made 84 gourdes (about $2). This program helps me support my family and provide them with something to eat. It gives the opportunity for a person that doesn’t have a gourde to his name, to go out a collect these things that others have thrown away, and make some money to at least be able to send a lunch to school with his children.”