In class, we discussed how recycling was taught in different ways and how its effects are underestimated due to rumors or lack of immediate results. I wanted to find one significant way that recycling was helping third world countries. I think I found one very important project.
Would you believe me if I said recycled cell phones, PDAs, and ink cartridges were enough to make loans for women entrepreneurs? Hopefully, you would. Recycle to Eradicate Poverty and Chiapas International encourage organizations to collect used cell phones and ink cartridges for recycling. The proceeds provide micro-finance loans for women to create small businesses.
Chiapas International was founded in 2003 by Real Estate Developer Lucy Billingsley and later joined by top Dallas civic and business leaders. Its is a 501 (C) 3 non profit organization based on the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Peace Prize Recipient, founder of the Grameen Bank, and author. Dr. Yunus created the concept of providing small loans to women in 1976 for a small village in Bangladesh.
Today, more than 250 institutions in nearly 100 countries micro finance programs based on Grameen methodology. Chiapas International has contributed over $4, 480, 000 for micro-finance in Latin America and the Caribbean. I’m not going to lie. Some of these proceeds are donations and corporate sponsors. Some of that money is also from recycling those cell phones and ink cartridges.
Even if you don’t know where to recycle your cell phone or ink cartridge, you can still help. Their website offers to send a pre-paid envelope to collect the phones and cartridges. You can ask for an envelope at this website.
If you’d like more information about Chiapas International and its pursuits, try this website. As their official website, it explains how the program began and some of their success stories. For example, The Last Mile Initiative is committed to raising $2, 000, 000 to reach rural farmers in the Uraba Coastal Area of Colombia to start sustainable food production. Some of the challenges have already been listed, like extreme poverty, high risk perception, and vulnerable crop system. This program has already begun in areas of Asia and Africa. Another interesting fact: 35% of the farmers are women.
The donations page on their official website is a little out of my range, but I think that I can dig out that old cell phone. This is an excellent example of how every little bit helps. Especially when you consider how some of the successful loans are as little as $50.