HOW THE PROGRAMME CAME TO BE:
ISWA (International Solid Waste Association) and Timothy Bouldry met years ago at the 2013 Methane Expo in Vancouver in Canada which was hosted by the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). Environmental photography was a growing need and the communities living and working in the informal sector from dump sites were becoming a more reoccurring theme and an important topic to consider for organizations taking an interest in improving the environment in developing nations. In 2015, ISWA invited Timothy Bouldry to give a presentation on health risks for communities living in these conditions at their ISWA World Congress '15 in Antwerp, Belgium. This opened a discussion about what would best help a community like this and from there The ISWA Scholarship Program was inspired. President of ISWA, David Newman, and the board of directors provided funding with the idea of removing 15 children from Managua, Nicaragua's city dump known as La Chureca and providing them with a quality education for two years. Since that short time ago, the programme has expanded to 25 kids and is rapidly including more kids and for a longer duration of time.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE PROGRAMME:
The concept is for the program to change and inspire the minds of the youths affected by informally working in trash dumps. It is also designed to carve a path away from the dump for the coming generation especially as dump sites are closing down and, little by little, are becoming forbidden entry. Dump sites are not a healthy environment for families and informal workers. Therefore they should be shut down and converted into properly functional landfills. However, there are various obstacles in the way for the people making a living there during this transition. Here are two great articles by Zoe Lenkiewicz that talks further about this complexity; Valuing Waste, Valuing Those Who Depend on Waste and Silver Bullets of Stepping Stones: The Future of Waste.
THE ISWA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME:
The program starts with Timothy Bouldry venturing into two main trash dumps; La Chureca of Managua and Nueva Vida of Ciudad Sandino, in search for children who show a desire to leave the dump in order to go to school. The next step is to interview the children and families to clearly understand their stories. If their committment to learn is genuine, then the parents and children sign contracts stating that they will stay out of the dump and focus on the programme. They are next considered to be placed in a fully funded private school programme away from the dump. In many cases, the child is of an age much older then their grade and will not be accepted in a private school. Therefore, we place the child in a "Ciclo Programme." The Ciclo Programme helps older children catch up to their respective grade. In order for this to happen, the child must work hard and show their honest devotion towards their studies and their future. If they succeed in this, then they will be rewarded with necessities for the family and another opportunity to go to a private school the following year. The Ciclo Programme currently consists of 10 kids (6 from La Chureca and 4 from Nueva Vida). All are provided with everything they need for school.
The private school group go to Colegio Bautista El Calvario. They are provided with transportation, uniforms, gym cloths, book bags, all school books, materials, full health coverage, semi-private tutoring 3 times a weeks, 2 weekend classes of English and Sponsors. The Private School group consists of 15 kids (14 from La Chureca and 1 from Nueva Vida, school: El Gues).
ISWA has planted a solid foundation for the programme and the sponsors have helped build a further structure for the kids. Right now we have 18 kids sponsored (14 from La Chureca private school group and 4 from La Chureca Ciclo Program). The sponsors have not only funded the children's transportation, but have made additional programming possible, tutoring and additional necessities when needed like extra school supplies, home improvement, food or dental work for example. The sponsors also are moral support for the kids by sending messages of encouragement and little gifts when they succeed in something new.
LEARN ALL ABOUT THE ISWA KIDS THROUGH TIMOTHY BOULDRY'S SPEECH AT ISWA'S WORLD CONGRESS IN SERBIA HELD SEPTEMBER 2016: