When “First World Problems” Enter The “Third World”

September 15, 2013

Welcome to Ghana, where every day workers inhale lead, flame retardants, dioxides and other toxins as they sift through the heaps of electronic waste exported here from industrious countries. It’s illegal, of course, but that doesn’t hinder any activity. The home of many children is referred to as a digital dumping ground, and on the occasions that they might want to play outside, they run the risk of inhibiting the development of their brains, as well as their reproductive and nervous system.

The Innovative Sound Of The Landfill Harmonic

April 18, 2013

In Cateura, Paraguay, townspeople don’t just live on garbage; they live with and from it. The impoverished rural community sits upon a landfill, and it is that trash that provides a source of income for those who pick it for sellable and recyclable goods. A few years ago, though, two Paraguayans decided to recycle the trash for something priceless: re-affirming the dignity of and cultivating the imagination, discipline and dedication of the region’s young, at-risk poor via musical instruments.

Eventually called Los Reciclados, or the Recycled Orchestra, flutes and clarinets are made from buttons and water pipes; cellos and flutes consist of forks, canisters and recycled strings. The result of these truly remarkable transformations is a fully functional orchestra which proves that, with a little creativity, something beautiful, fulfilling and sustainable can be forged from even the most unlikely materials and locations:

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Landfill Harmonic 7

Members of "Los Reciclados".

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A recycled violin made of a metal glue canister, a fork, recycled strings and tuning pegs. A real violin is worth more than a typical house in Paraguay.

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The refurbished "joints" of the clarinet.

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A "woodwind" made of bottle caps, buttons and forks.

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Nicolás Gómez, lute fixer and garbage picker.

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Favio Chávez, the director of the Recycled Orchestra.

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A Paraguayan girl practices her recycled violin.

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The Faces Of Appalachian Poverty

March 23, 2013
Growing Up In Eastern Kentucky

Source: LIFE

From LIFE: “In a lonely valley in eastern Kentucky, in the heart of the mountainous region called Appalachia, live an impoverished people whose plight has long been ignored by affluent America. Their homes are shacks without plumbing or sanitation. Their landscape is a man-made desolation of corrugated hills and hollows laced with polluted streams. The people, themselves — often disease-ridden and unschooled — are without jobs and even without hope. Government relief and handouts of surplus food have sustained them on a bare subsistence level for so many years that idleness and relief are now their accepted way of life.”

The World According To Doctor Presence

February 18, 2013

Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, Africa’s inhabitant-to-doctor ratio is over 100 times that of its North American counterparts. Thankfully, organizations like Doctors of the World are taking meaningful measures to combat the dearth of doctors in one of the world’s most impoverished areas.

Kabul’s Not-So Glamorous Hills

December 27, 2012
Kabul Afghanistan

Source: The Atlantic, http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/11/afghanistan-october-2012/100398/

Taken in Kabul in October 2012, a staggering one third of individuals living in Afghanistan fall below the poverty line and even more are at risk of falling into it.