Our hope is in the trash.
— San Mateo, Philippines • Community Member

The people that scavenge on trash dumps are hard workers. We have met many of them, and they are no less of a person than you or me. The difference is they dig through trash each day, with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas, and their workday can last up to 12 hours. They are not just rummaging through the trash for no reason; there is money buried in the disarray, in the form of potential items that can be recycled.

They look for copper, tin, plastic and paper to collect, then sell it to the nearest junk shop (recycling center). There are times where they not only are looking for income, but also are looking for any sort of food they or their families may be able to consume. The income generated by this type of work is so low that in many situations the whole family, including the kids, must work to make enough money to live. 

We often see generations of families who grow up picking in the trash dump.

This is most likely the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder globally.
— Micah Albert, Award-Winning Photojournalist

Since their time and resources are spent in the trash dump itself, education and dreams of the future are pushed to the background. Proper nutrition and housing is nearly non-existent, and because these people are in such desperate situations, various types of crimes are prevalent in their communities.

These are forgotten people. They identify themselves with the trash and slowly lose their own identity. The poverty that they are in perpetuates year after year, generation after generation, but there are people in these communities that desire a change. There are leaders that want to break the cycle, but don't have the resources to do so. This is where we can help.

Long-term change can take effect, and we believe that we are part of the solution.