Casa Palabra y Pueblo’s Peace Corps Volunteer, Amy Woodruff, traveled to Quito last week with two women from Intag to attend a Recycled Arts Workshop. The workshop covered current environmental issues in Ecuador, recycling, and a number of arts and crafts to ‘repurpose’ materials that are usually thrown away.
Eighteen-year-old Nora Santillan of Vacas Galindo just graduated from high school in Apuela and was very moved by the information she learned in the workshop. The environmental problems we face on a global scale have changed her plans for her future; rather than studying manufacturing processes in college she wants to find a more sustainable major. Before she leaves for university in September she wants to help the café project get underway.
Verenice Chicaiza works with senior citizens in her role with the local government of Apuela, but is excited to expand to working with young adults. She loves arts and crafts, but especially enjoyed making flowers with plastic bottles and a purse woven out of plastic bags.
The women plan to pass on what they learned to the community by starting a youth group with teenagers to create recycled art projects and teach children about better environmental practices. Profits from the sale of art projects will be reinvested in the group to fund environmentally focused field trips within Intag. One of their first big projects is to build a garden with bottle bricks (plastic bottles filled with plastic waste, and cemented together) to promote organic practices and illustrate the volume of plastic waste produced by the community.