Imagine being disabled, unable to work, and spending most of your time indoors in a cramped hut. And being dependent on your overworked and financially stressed family to take care of you. You may have been this way since you were born. And as you look ahead, you see no way out, no hope for any change.
This is the daily plight of tens of thousands of disabled people living in poverty in Guatemala. And this is what we will work to change with YOUR help. To accomplish this, we created the social company– Escovita. “The littlebroom”; Escovita will provide work at fair wages for the disabled, as well as free physio/psychological therap.
We will produce and sell brooms made from recycled plastic water bottles. Only disabled people will be hired for the labor-intensive work of manufacturing the brooms. The bottles themselves are given to us for free from restaurants, schools, and other collection points.
We’ve spent over a year testing our brooms– badgering people to try them out and give us their input. Based on this feedback, we’ve modified our design eleven times and significantly improved the quality of the brooms. We’ve also begun some trial sales in local stores in Antigua and are excited to see how quickly they have sold, and how well they’ve been accepted.
Now, we’re ready for the next step: hiring and training groups of disabled people to manufacture the brooms, making them by hand with the tools and training we provide. It’s an eight-step process– one step for each person in a group of eight. We’ll start with one group, and then, as we learn from that trial and smooth out the process, ramp up to 64 people in this first phase.
Please help us get going! With your donation, plus the sales from the brooms that we sell, we will have enough to accomplish this first phase. One of the largest home/hardware chains in Guatemala has already committed to buying all the brooms we produce in this first phase. So, it’s just a question of getting enough funds to get started.
Once past this first phase, the goal is for Esovita to fully sustain itself from the sales of the brooms, while seeking additional funding to scale the company. Our dream is to provide employment for thousands of disabled people throughout the country. (Guatemalahas a population of 15 million, so,there’ll always be enough demand for the brooms! )
Escovita will also benefit the environment.
Ninety-five sixteen-ounce water bottles are used to make one regular-sized broom. These are bottlesthat otherwise would be dumped in land-fills, or accumulate as litter in the streets and countryside. We are also teaching the habit of recycling to the younger generations. For example, we have already nine elementary schools, , with 2500 students, that are collecting for us over 2000 bottles a month.
WHY IT MATTERS
More than 12% of Guatemalans have some kind of disability, and of those, the great majority live in poverty. They are isolated, often marooned in their family's homes, and except for a small fraction of them, receive no support beyond what their families can provide. Most of them are living desperate, miserable lives with almost no hope that their situation will change.
By providing people with disabilities work that they can do, at fair wages, as well as free physio/psychological therapy, Escovita will help bring happiness, independence and hope to their lives.
HOW WILL THE FUNDS BE USED
The funds raised will be used to:
— Purchase the simple equipment need to manufacture the brooms: small-size bottle and wire cutters,ovens, plastic smelters, metal molds and more.
— Pay the disabled for the initial work orders (once started, the broom sales will cover the labor cost)
— Create point of purchase marketing materials to use within the stores
— Provide transport to collect the bottles and deliver them to the stores.
As for our own salaries, we are currently working for free. Once the company can afford it, we will beging to pay ourselves a modest salary.
Please help us by donating. Even a small amount will help. And just knowing that you’ve taken an interest in contributing will be a big boost for us We are based in Antigua, Guatemala. We would love to hear from you.
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