Here is one of story of how the recycling business has made a difference in the life of a mother and child:
Her eyes said it all. They showed her defeat as Lucy surrendered her 19 month old baby girl into the hands of a more capable woman. That baby girl had lost weight,
returning to the size of a 6 month old, and would have soon lost her life had she not found help.
I can only imagine the pain, or the inadequacy, or the helplessness Lucy must have felt that drove her to trust a stranger to nurse her daughter back to health.
She walked away from her baby girl, wanting to believe that one day they could be reunited, but faced with a very harsh and very hopeless reality. At home she had a 6
year old son and a 4 year old daughter, and under her shirt, there was a growing belly.
The father was no more interested in his unborn son than he was in his first two children. Lucy lives with his parents – his blind mother and his aging father – neither
of whom are capable of working.
I watched tears role down her face as Lucy told me that the fortified rice we gave her each week was the only food she had.
I saw her blank stare as she pondered how she would manage to care for her soon-to-be-born son.
We don't encourage dependency. It was necessary to keep her healthy throughout her pregnancy, birth and postpartum period, but finally we told her that we couldn't keep
providing for her and gave her the idea of collecting plastic bottles to sell to our recycling depot.
By the next day she had already collected bottles worth more than $5USD.
I can only imagine the difference that this small, yet significant, income has made to her family.
I can only imagine her hope slowly growing and gaining momentum with each bottle collected.
I saw Lucy arriving at the bottle depot today to be paid what she has earned - she was beaming. She had been empowered.