Children, youth and worms: a friendship built on the earth

Niños y niñas en la construcción de su huerto escolar

Watering seeds for the school garden

Under the framework of the Transforming my Garbage Program, SiKanda implements the projects Worm-Action Children and Worm- Action Youth in three primary and three secondary schools in the Zaachila Municipality.

We encourage children and youth to get their hands dirty to improve solid waste management, transform organic garbage into worm compost, use that worm compost in school gardens, manage their gardens to harvest nutritious food, and include these spaces in their learning environment. It’s a full circle!

This way, we expect to change the relationship between the participants and garbage, reducing the possibility of infections, promoting recycling and composting and providing training to maintain a school garden, improving nutrition and health.

Around the school garden and the worm compost, we also work on areas such as leadership skills and self-esteem, particularly with young men and women. We also incorporate their interests in the Project to develop skills that can be useful in their future.

This last trimester, we have prepared the beds for planting and the school gardens are now ready for spring. We promoted an exchange session between the “Símbolos Patrios” primary school, the closest one to the landfill, and the “Vicente Guerrero” school from Oaxaca city. Students visited the landfill and participated in fun and artistic activities with their peers. This way they can learn about the importance of reducing and managing our garbage, while at the same time promoting awareness against the discrimination suffered daily by waste pickers/ recyclers, dignify their work and promote mutual knowledge and understanding.

Taller de esténcil para jóvenes de secundaria

Stencil workshop for teens

Also, last February, we invited Uriel Fernando Barragán (Bouler) to provide a workshop on stencil for young men and women in Zaachila. Thus, we promote artistic expression and participation, since now the students will be able to decorate their garden along with the walls of the recently built Green Library at the Technical Secondary School Number 223.

We will continue our work in the upcoming months with the schools to improve the health, environment and social integration of children and youth in Zaachila. Stay tuned!

Why Zaachila?

The metropolitan area of Oaxaca produces approximately 1.000 tons of garbage per day (1.2 kg per person), mostly organic. Garbage produced in the city is concentrated in the landfill located in the neighboring municipality of Villa de Zaachila.

The presence of the landfill has an important social, economic and environmental impact. It provides a source of informal work and income to many families dedicated to waste picking and recycling. Also, it is a matter of health concerns for local inhabitants, since it produces foul smells, and can pollute the soil and water. Equally, the negative social perception regarding trash generates stigma and discrimination against the waste pickers/ recyclers and their families.

SiKanda Works in Zaachila alongside Fundación de Apoyo a la Educación Huapahualiztli AC, to develop capacities in children and youth to improve their quality of life through projects that emerge from their own interests and concerns.