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Creating Environmental Leaders at Niños con una Esperanza

My photo essay takes place in Cienfuegos, Santiago, DR, where I am working at the organization, Niños con una Esperanza (Children with a Hope), an after/before school program for at-risk youth within the area. The environment is a relevant subject in this neighborhood, despite a common lack of awareness. Many of the people living in Cienfuegos spend their days rummaging through refuse in Rafey, the adjoining landfill, and Santiago’s sole trash depository, searching for items that can be resold. Working in the landfill, they suffer from countless dangers such as respiratory damage from the incessantly burning trash and being smothered by truckloads of trash.  In addition, the trash pickup service in the neighborhood is infrequent at best, leading to an overflow of waste, which is then usually left on the streets. There is also a lack of education and knowledge regarding the potential harms of improper rubbish disposal. Despite these discouraging facts, the people of Niños con una Esperanza are conscious of everyday harms to the environment, especially in their home. They work to create a safe and healthy space for the children who attend their program, and to provide the proper education ad tools necessary for the students to better their surroundings. This photo essay attempts to educate the viewer about some of the challenges the community faces, but also to showcase the efforts made towards improving the situation. 

-Addie Pendergast

Eckerd College

Enlarge slideshow to view captions:


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