Supporting the Recycled Orchestra


The Opportunity

In an area where there is little hope and limited opportunities to imagine a life beyond a town built on a landfill and surrounded by trash, one man is working to make a difference. Using his love of music and the one resource in abundance in Cateura -trash-, he is working to transform the lives of the children and their families. The students in Favio’s music education program and youth orchestra are learning to play Mozart and Beethoven just like music students all over the world, but what makes this program unique is that all the instruments played were created from recycled materials. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to expand their horizons and develop their musical talents, especially in such an environmentally-aware way – join us in helping the Orchestra of Recycled Instruments from Cateura sustain their music education and youth orchestra programs. The upcoming documentary, Landfill Harmonic, made by Alejandra Nash & Juliana Penaranda-Loftus, tells this remarkable story. If you don’t believe that a cello made from a can or a violin made from scrap metal can make beautiful music, check out the movie trailer about this unique orchestra.

The Plan

Our grant will provide:

  • Sustain the 30 member youth orchestra program for another year
  • Teach students to repair instruments to generate income to support their families
  • Sustain the music education program currently benefiting 100 youth

The Reason

Were it not for this program, these children would be forced to quit school early (usually at age 11) and eke out a living rummaging through trash because there are few other options for the residents of Cateura. The children in this program are not only taught music, they also learn how to build and repair musical instruments. When they sell or repair instruments, they earn money which allows them to continue to support their families as well as continue their education. Moreover, the use of recycled materials in a town filled with garbage inspires innovation and environmental awareness in a community which desperately needs it.