It is not for nothing that Payatas is known as the ‘national shame’ of the Philippines. Nicknamed the ‘Second Smokey Mountain’, Payatas is home to the largest dumpsite in the Philippines.
Rubbish heaped as far as the eye can see, the 13hectare dump is home to officially 150,000 people, but it is likely that the real number is close to half a million. Payatas was closed after a landfill in 2000 killed hundreds, but it was reopened because for many scavengers it is their only source of income.
An NGO based in Payatas reaches out to poor families living around the rubbish dump by providing shelter, schooling, food and support.
OnePlate has partnered with this NGO to build and establish a garden, and train the locals on how to grow and tend their own vegetables.
This project focuses on educating women, particularly pregnant women, and children—as those strong enough spend the day on the rubbish site scavenging to survive.
We will make use of the limited space in their community centre for growing extra crops. As space is limited, the volunteers will use creative techniques, including trellis gardens along walls and pergolas with climbing plants that will provide shade during the day.
Chickens will be bought into the space to provide eggs for the children and fertilizer for the gardens. Rotary compost bins will be used to turn organic vegetable waste into valuable fertilizer.
With the garden, street kids have the opportunity to learn basic farming skills. Those that show promise will be given the opportunity to attend further training programs, such as the Tacloban project.
It’s not just about food. The real work of the Payatas garden has deeper roots. The women and children who have experienced so many traumas in their lives find peace, healing and a sense of pride as they learn how to tend and grow their own vegetables.
Witnessing the first bloom of a flower, or the growth of chickens, provides a healthy relief from life in the slums.
What these children experience, in the little patches of green between the slums, is the first sprouts of hope.
Want to help?? Don’t be shy! There are plenty of beautiful projects that still need your help to grow.