Amy’s Blog

SMALL STEPS PROJECT IN THE UK

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We returned to the UK in June and have been working on the fundraising aspect of the project because it is through the documentaries, screenings, fundraisers, celebrity shoe collections and website that we make the money which ernables us to deliver the projects on rubbish dumps. And get shoes on children’s feet! We are not sponsored or funded by the government or any large corporate sponsors (yet!) so we are completely dependant on the generocity of the public and that…

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CHINANDEGA DUMP, NORTHERN NICARAGUA

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As the temperatures soared into the forties in Nicaragua and the volunteers had returned to Europe, we headed to northern Nicaragua to start editing the hours and hours of footage we had filmed during the dump projects in Managua and Granada. We arrived in Jiquilillo and within moments of getting off the back of the truck we met the owner of the place where we were staying, Donald ‘Monty’ Montgomery. Before we had even put down our equipment Monty was…

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Shoe Distribution Project, La Joya Dump, Granada, Nicaragua

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We finally managed to collect all the names, ages and shoe sizes of the children who scavenge on La Joya dump. Every time we go, there is someone new and the adults keep asking – what about us? Even though there are children scavenging on Saturdays, we have learnt over the last few visits that most of the children go to school in the week or want to go to school. Very few scavenge other than on Saturdays. Compared to…

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Shoe Distribution, La Chureca, Managua, Nicaragua

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La Chureca dump in Managua is a totally different ball game to La Joya in Granada. Originally it was the only dump we knew about in Nicaragua, having been notoriously one of the biggest inhabited landfill sites in Central America, until a recent intervention to close it by the Spanish Government. After our first visit, it became clear that distributing aid was going to be dangerous and filming it would probably be worse. Most NGOs warn people, and I always…

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Nicaragua Granada

Hygiene Kit Distribution Project, Granada, Nicaragua

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People often ask whether the scavengers on dumps sell the shoes Small Steps Project gives out. Every dump is different and sometimes people do have to sell them, especially if they are starving or need something else more desperately. To try and lessen this situation we talk to the people and ask them to name the things they need most urgently. Top of the list is usually food and water as well as essential cleaning items and mosquito nets, which…

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Other Small Steps in Granada, Nicaragua

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Small Steps is still based in Granada, Nicaragua, where our research into the La Joya dump and its scavenger communities has lead us to some other interesting projects. Casa Xalteva language school is a great Nicaraguan-run education project that provides Spanish lessons to foreigners which provides funding for English lessons and a day centre for street kids and scavengers. “Casa Xaltava helps with a variety of programmes to alleviate poverty in Nicaragua and social services for children.” For more info…

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La Joya Dump, Granada, Nicaragua, First Visit

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I found it incredible that only an hour’s drive away from La Chureca dump in Managua was another dump, La Joya (The Jewel) in Granada. Here we found children and families scavenging but less of a drugs problem, no hostility, no violence towards us and bizarrely no other projects, NGOs or missionaries. So why is it that on the dump where there are projects the situation is worse than on one where there are none? I suspect that some of…

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La Chureca, Managua, First Visit

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Continuing with the topic of the wealth generated by dumps, Small Steps visited la Chureca, a dump, which makes an estimated US$30m annually, from the waste is scavenged, sold and recycled each year. It has been alleged that €30m is being spent on the regeneration of La Chureca, once the biggest dump in Central America, certainly the most dangerous and, of all the dumps I have visited, certainly the most hostile and depressing. Almost every child over the age of…

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CORN ISLANDS RUBBISH, NICARAGUA

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Nicaragua’s beautiful, tropical, palm tree scattered, conch-filled Corn Islands was our first destination. We had heard stories of the staple diet being lobster but what we found was a ‘lobster factory’ on the dock from which no lobsters came and which, suspiciously, didn’t suffer the electrical blackouts that hit the rest of the island. Trees were chopped down to make lobster cages, which then sat empty and unused on the beach and lots of desperately poor fisherman, not actually fishing…

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GRAZIA MAGAZINE – HOW YOU CAN HELP!

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Grazia Magazine News FeatureSmall Steps Project was absolutely thrilled to be chosen as Grazia’s Christmas Appeal this year and we are really hoping to reach loads of new people and try and raise more money for the projects. The whole project has been funded by the public and the amazing Small Steps team, a collective of people who donate their time and skills to make the project work.Obviously as it grows from a very small project in Cambodia to a…

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