Solidarity youths in Río Negro, Uruguay
The project "Ayudando a mi barrio [Helping my neighbourhood]" of the UTU (University of Labour of Uruguay) in Young, Río Negro, was one of the winners in the latest edition of the Solidarity Education Contest in Uruguay. It was designed and implemented by third-year students of Basic Vocational Training in Carpentry and first-year students of Mechanical Technological Secondary Education, together with their teachers, addressing a specific problem in the area. When noticing a problem regarding plastic pollution and waste in the area, the first step was to pause and observe what was happening in the community and consult its neighbours. The students measured and detected high levels of plastic pollution, which neighbours did not discard correctly, as they had become accustomed to dumping waste in an area not suitable for this purpose.
With this problem as a starting point, they designed the project to reduce the pollution produced by plastic waste, which overflows the containers near the UTU. As a proposal, the students made a plastic crusher to recycle plastic bottles —the most common waste— to sell the plastic afterwards. Then, with the money raised, they paid for this project which focuses mainly on protecting the environment.
In this way, the service-learning project solves a problem and suggests to the neighbours in the community how to improve the cleaning and discard and reuse plastic; moreover, thanks to this implementation, they have an income that makes the project self-sustainable, without having any economic dependence on third parties.
More information [in Spanish] here.