Have you ever thought about the millions of hopelessly impoverished peoples of the world? Of course you have. And have you ever thought about doing something to help? Of course you have! But have you also decided the task is too large and the probability of success, too low, to bother?
Most of us are like that. We want to help but we feel helpless. So we donate what we can to one organization or another and hope for the best.
Hope. In most cases, hope is the only thing that makes it possible for any of us to continue along the path of life. Next to love, hope is the greatest gift we can give. The greatest among us are those who bless others with hope.
May I introduce you to Arturo Buenostro? He is one such person.
Seven years ago, he and a small group of visionaries based in Mexico, decided to begin doing something about the growing cultural and environmental decline throughout the region.
Their concerns were many: The loss of traditional handcrafts and skills to machines and mechanization. The land increasingly fouled by pollution. Landfills overflowing with waste, much of it taking eons to biodegrade. Traditional forms of employment disappearing overnight with the industrialization of community property formally held by native peoples who gleaned their livelihoods by growing crops such as maize. Poverty reaching epidemic levels in small pueblos as well as among a large percentage of the population in urban areas.
Arturo and his team established La Lagartija Workshops to begin the seemingly impossible task of reversing this trend.
Their program is so simple, it is profound! Persons proficient in traditional arts and crafts teach others, keeping alive traditional folkways that have been passed down, generation to generation for centuries.
Utilizing discarded waste instead of virgin raw materials is the purest form of recycling. Fashioning durable, functional, attractive objects from used inner tubes, plastic bags, discarded snack food containers and glass bottles, keeps an ever increasing volume of discarded materials out of the landfill. The cottage industries nurtured by La Lagartija Workshops offer empowerment and hope through self employment. Seed money for the workshops is provided by BIO, the non-profit foundation established by Arturo. The entire program is self-funded through sales.
BIO also undertakes a wide range of other relative community services: preserving resources, nurturing health and quality of life; fostering environmental and social responsibility and so on.
The work BIO is doing is exemplary! When the team moves into a new town or village, their doors are open to all who wish a better life for themselves and their families. But the program encompasses much more than the buying and selling of goods fashioned from recycled materials, or providing income through self-employment.
The BIO team also offers hands-on adult education concentrating on the basics of green living: organic gardening, com-posting, energy and water conservation and the rudiments or reduce, reuse and recycle. These services are free of charge.
I would like to offer you a glimpse of the imaginative designs produced by those who take part in La Lagartija Workshops. Since each item is hand-fashioned, they are all slightly different.
The Lizard Collection
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