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Offering hope on the rubbish dump

Offering hope on the rubbish dump

Saturday 27th January 2024

Every time I visit the rubbish dump I leave with the same feeling of desperation.  I look around at the clamorous corner of La Terminal where tons of rotting rubbish are piled up and the stench clings to you and invades your nostrils to where you can´t help but make the choice to breathe through your mouth not your nose.

There are about 25 families currently going through the rubbish in order to find tin, plastic and paper they can recycle.  They also search for food, anything that can be put to one side and later cooked up for dinner.  Young children both work and play here and are constantly looking around as they are aware of the dangers.  Dangers come from the council JCB digger that drives in at speed to compact the rubbish and now again scoop it up and take it to a waiting truck.  There is also the danger of drug dealers, gang members and others who could be a threat.  There is a lot that the young eyes continually scan for while they stoop over the rubbish or invent games to play using what they have around them.

Today, however, I left with a feeling of hope.  Why hope?  Well, I was with an incredible team of volunteers who offer their time to work with Puerta de Esperanza (Door of Hope) – a ministry that SKD supports and one that reaches at-risk children and youth in La Terminal and surrounding areas.

I remember when this ministry started and remember meeting up with Jomara, the founder, to discuss her dreams and vision to start to help the kids on the rubbish dump. Since then the dream has become a reality and one that reaches about 250 vulnerable children every week.  Not only is the Puerta de Esperanza ministry working with the kids on the dump, their contact with the children and the families here has led them to other areas nearby, where children live at huge social risk.

It is great not to have the responsibility for the work, just to come as a visitor, to watch, encourage and see what this incredible team of people do.  They inspire me and knowing some of them, like Jacobo, confirms to me that this work is in great hands. 

I have known Jacobo (photo above: leading the kids) since he was a small boy when I used to visit the dump with the street team.  He lived in a tin shack opposite the dump and would spend hours sitting outside watching what we did and slowly would come and get involved in the activities.  He is now part of the team and is such a wonder to watch as he works with the children.

For those who might have missed the video we made of their work for Radio Christmas, you can view it here.

dump charlie

Some of the funds raised on Radio Christmas will go to help support this outreach during 2024 and I am sure that due to their work the feeling of desperation many feel who live and work on the dump will turn to hope and to change.  Your support for this work really makes a difference and changes lives, thank you.

Duncan Dyason is the founder and Director of Street Kids Direct and founder of Toybox Charity.  He first started working with street children in 1992 when he moved to Guatemala City and founded The Toybox Charity.  His work has been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen and he was awarded an MBE the year he celebrated working over 25 years to reduce the large population of children on the streets from 5,000 to zero.  Duncan continues to live and work in Guatemala City.