Ten-year-old Carlos lives in the Ciudad Sandino garbage dump community in Nicaragua. Dressed in dirty overalls and carrying a torn plastic bag, he purposefully sifts through the massive piles of trash in search of items that can be sold for recycling. When his bag is full, he carries it to the recyclers, where if he is lucky that day, he will have earned enough money to eat.
Many families live in these garbage dump communities, but Carlos is one of many orphans also living there.
When asked about his life, he says, “My father died, and my mother’s new husband doesn’t like me. My aunts don’t want me, so now I live here because I don’t have anywhere else to go. I have to live on my own.” He shrugs. “I decided to live here so I can make money and eat. But I haven’t eaten today because the truck that brings the chicken hasn’t come yet.”
But Carlos dreams of a better life. “I want to study, to get away from here,” he says, but his face looks grim. But for so many, the garbage dump communities are a place they never leave.
Sadly, Carlos’ story is hardly unique. In Ethiopia, an eight-year-old little boy named Samuel fills his own torn plastic bag with cans and bottles that he hopes will earn him enough to eat that day. And in Thailand at the Mae Sot garbage dump, seven-year-old Lin walks barefoot through the heaps of trash, filling his own bag and hoping to find discarded food among the debris.
So many children, many of them orphans, live in these garbage dump communities around the world. Like all children, they have hopes and dreams for their lives, but they need help to escape the poverty. International Samaritan exists to provide this help.
International Samaritan’s programs help these children achieve their dream of leaving the garbage dumps. By helping to provide the vital needs of the communities, like schools, health clinics, community centers and micro-loans, children and families can be lifted out of this dire poverty.
For example, in Nicaragua, where Carlos lives, International Samaritan is striving to improve the Jose Artigas school in Ciudad Sandino so it is a place where the children want to go to school. Carlos will have his chance to study and leave the dump, and with your help, other children will as well.