Recycling and Sustainability: Working Towards a Healthier Haiti

Producing useful things with plastic.
June 22, 2018 - Haiti

Alfonso Leon give explanation on how to use the home-made trash bins.

May name is Alfonso Leon Balderas, and I have been a member of this great NPH family since 1968. I finished my studies as an elementary-school teacher in 1978 and, following training in Washington D.C., became an international Montessori school teacher in 1982. I worked as a Montessori teacher at three different schools in the USA, in Houston, Dallas and New Mexico.

I was the House Director of a leadership program Fr. Wasson started in Yarnell Arizona, many years ago. I have been associated with NPH for at least 30 years, most of this time working in our home in Haiti. Recently, I started a program that recycles materials that we would have otherwise thrown away. In this program, we recycle trash to make items for use around the home, and hope to be able to sell them to support NPH financially in the future!

We just started only a few months ago, so we cannot yet measure the programís impact. The idea for this program started as a response to a large problem in this country: Haiti produces a lot of trash. We decided that if we started taking care of our own trash in a responsible manner, we could produce useful things with the plastic, cardboard, cans and glass bottles. At the moment, we only make trashcans out of the plastic bottles.

I have four young men in this program full time. Presently, there are two "hermanos mayores"(big brother of NPH who gradauted), a year-of-service NPH youth, and the two other employees, but I hope we can grow the program and be able to hire more. Currently, the trash bins we make are sold and used to collect trash. I hope we can eventually make a good revenue source out of selling the trashcans to others outside NPH.

If we find the support to buy necessary tools, we hope to produce a variety of useful things outside of the current trashcans and small plant pots. But since we started working on this program, we have at least been able to reduce bad odors and flies!

So far, the program is very new, fresh, and organic: We do not get outside income to run the program, and we collect our own waste material from Kay Germaine and at times from the big depot at Francis Ville. In order to keep growing and have a good production, we hope to find economic support to acquire big dump truck, tools, and other equipment. With hard work and growth in the program, we hope that sustainable practices can one day economically help the children of NPH Haiti.

Alfonso Leon Balderas   
Member of NPFS




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