The Municipality of Villa de Zaachila and the other poverty-stricken communities where SiKanda works are located in the outskirts of Oaxaca, near the city’s largest garbage dump. Over 1,000 tons of garbage are deposited in the landfill daily and families are exposed to health risks by living in close proximity to a landfill and improper disposal of waste (there are no trash collection services within the community). Only 30% of households have running water and there is lack of access to fresh, nutritious food, which leads to high rates of malnutrition, especially among children and young people. 76% of the population lives in poverty, with 25% of these in extreme poverty. There is a dearth of formal labor opportunities and many people turn to waste picking and informal recycling to generate income. They experience significant discrimination because they live near/work in a garbage dump and, combined with the high rates of poverty, they face barriers that often prove insurmountable. Without opportunities to improve their life circumstances, many young people feel hopeless and see no other option than to become informal recyclers like their parents.
Founded in 2009, SiKanda is a non-profit organization based in Oaxaca, Mexico, that works with highly marginalized communities including waste pickers living in and around Oaxaca’s largest municipal garbage dumps to address critical issues such as inadequate waste disposal, sanitation, health issues including malnutrition, low levels of education and skills, and lack of employment opportunities in creative ways. They take a holistic approach in working with communities that have been largely ignored by the government and most local organizations (who lack expertise in these issue areas), and support them to become productive members of society, contributing to social change.
EMpower’s 3rd grant to SiKanda will helps students in their first year of middle school to reduce the health risks associated with improper waste disposal and poor nutrition through workshops on recycling, composting and planting/tending school gardens. Sikanda will continue to work with returning students to improve their psychological health, become agents of change in their communities and broaden their horizons for the future, and work with parents and teachers to create a more supportive environment for youth.
Primary Location: Oaxaca
Funded Since: 2014
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.