Maria finds discarded items that can be fixed and resold to support her family.
Jul 3 2015

Mom recycles for a better future

The old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” rings true for Maria’s family.

She and the other six members of her family work hard reclaiming items from the streets of their Mexican neighborhood.

“First, I am a mother. This is my first and most important job,” Maria said. “I enjoy doing overtime mother’s work, even if I don’t get paid for it,” she laughed.

But in order to pay the bills, Maria has a very different job — she is a pepenadora or one who searches through trash for a living.

“I walk the streets and collect cardboard, bottles, cans, old TVs, old furniture, iron, chairs, bicycles and, well, anything that can be fixed or recycled. I take the recyclable stuff to a center, and my husband fixes some of these things and then we sell them.”

Maria begins work around 6 at night and is sometimes gone for five hours, working with her husband. She and her husband pick up items every night and sell them on weekends. She estimated that “on average we earn about $7.50 per week by selling the materials.”

This certainly wasn’t enough to support her four children and the other family members living with her. Since becoming part of the Unbound family nearly 13 years ago, sponsorship has changed what the family is capable of achieving.

“Without sponsorship I wouldn’t be able to send my kids to school,” she said. “My kids have been sponsored since they were in kindergarten and now, thanks to sponsorship, they are in high school.”

Education is one of the most important benefits Maria attributes to Unbound. Equally as important is the sense of community that has developed.

“Sponsorship has given me the opportunity to interact and get to know the people from my community. We have become very united,” she said.

Maria is grateful for her children’s sponsors and the Unbound program.

“Thank you for helping our family. My children are receiving help for their education,” she said. “Thank you, Unbound, for providing a helping hand for the elderly and children of my community. It means a whole lot to us.”

Help a mother send her child to school. Sponsor today.

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