Peddling for Pennies

April 19, 2013 • Haiti

Haitians collect trash, earn an income, and learn about sanitation through our recycling program

By Adam Wilchide, program manager of the recycling project in Haiti

People in the community of Carrefour know Etienne Mario as the “father of life.” Although he does help sustain the community work force by managing a Samaritan’s Purse recycling center, he knows the true father of life, Jesus Christ, is the one providing for all their needs.

We started the program to help clean up the streets of Haiti and to create a source of income for needy families in the area. Men, women, and children can pick up pieces of plastic, aluminum, and other materials and bring them to one of our 14 recycling centers for cash.

2013-02-19 15.09.46Etienne became the owner of one center after meeting Samaritan’s Purse staff member Jean Louis Samuel at his church. With the job, he is able to care for his wife and three children and pay for his kids’ school fees. He says that he enjoys running the center because it is profitable and he can feel proud of his work. Since it is running efficiently, Etienne is a healthier and less stressed person.

Because of the recycling program, the area is becoming cleaner, families are able to reinvest in their communities, gain income, and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ from people like Etienne.

Sauveur Chadique is one of the people who depend on the recycling center for income. He used to do mason work, and occasionally dug latrines. However, he had to stop doing this because of his poor health. Since he does not have family, there is no one else to provide for him.

“This program has helped me a lot!” Chadique said. “It is the only way for me to earn my daily bread. With the money, I buy soap to wash my clothes, medicine, and food. I want to thank Samaritan’s Purse for this program.”

Haiti RecycleTed Valcourt is another one of the peddlers who depend on the recycling center for daily income. He is 34 and lives in Leogane with his two children. Ted has been collecting plastic for the recycling industry for about two years, but recently started to sell his materials at one of the Samaritan’s Purse centers because it is closer to where he lives.

Ted was a taxi driver before he started collecting plastic, using a friend’s vehicle to transport people. With the money he earned from collecting trash, he has been able to buy a motorbike and run his own taxi business.

Since then, great changes have taken place in his life that have enabled him to make plans for his future.

“This program has positively impacted people’s lives in my community,” Ted said. “We have seen an economic growth and an awareness of hygiene and sanitation because of the training we received.”