CAROLINA VILLEGAS is a pepenadora, a garbage collector from Colonia Escalerillas, Mexico. She has six siblings and a little son, Donnovan. The whole family works in the landfill. “Happiness is when you find good rubbish,” Carolina used to say, who dropped out of school to work and support the family budget. Thanks to the UNAWEZA Foundation, she returned to study, and in the future we will help her find a job and provide a better life for herself and her child.
"I BECAME A PEPENADOR, A TRASH COLLECTOR, BECAUSE I FELT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FAMILY"
Until a few months ago, Carolina saw her chance for a better life in "good rubbish." There is hope for her of getting out of the dump.
It was January 2019. For the "WOMAN AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD" program, we reached Colonia Escalerillas near the city of Chimalhuacán, an hour's drive from the Mexican capital. The makeshift village has no electricity, no running water, and part of the community lives off rummaging through the rubbish.
Among the mountains of toxic waste, we met 19-year-old Carolina. Petite, scared, she pressed the baby to her breast again and again. “I became a pepenadora, a garbage collector, because I felt responsible for the family. That's why I quit school,” she said. “At the landfill, we look for things that can be sold, such as cardboard, iron, clothes or shoes.
The local garbage dump is located on a hill in a nature reserve. Every day, several dozen trucks bring waste from all over the area. The stench is overwhelming.
When Martyna came up with the idea to help Caroline, she just lowered her eyes. A few months later, we started working on making her dreams come true.
They are not excessive. “Learn a trade. Bring a lot of food to my brothers and my son. To replace the smell of a landfill with the smell of a beauty salon, my dream is to work as a beautician and hairdresser. Stop worrying about germs getting to my baby. Make us clean, so that no one laughs at our appearance and the way we earn a living,” says Carolina.
In autumn 2019, thanks to the support of the UNAWEZA Foundation, Carolina started a five-module styling course. She learns, among others hairdressing, makeup, pedicure, and make-up for events.
As part of the support program, thanks to which we pay her school fees, Carolina can also benefit from transport funds and a scholarship that will allow her to support herself and her child without having to work in a landfill.
This is the only condition for assistance from UNAWEZA: Carolina is dedicated to studying, training and caring for a small child.
Thanks to your support, the UNAWEZA Foundation can take care of Carolina, and in the future also other women working at the garbage dump in Colonia Escalerillas.
All of this is possible thanks to the extraordinary people who joined the project TICKET TO A BETTER LIFE
Become one of Carolina's FRIENDS and other girls from the landfill.
By changing one person's life, you changE the whole world!
TOGETHER WE CAN GIVE THEM WINGS!
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