Located on the outer edge of Asuncion in Paraguay, a community lives on a landfill of Catuera. A majority of people living there sell any recyclable materials they find as a source of income. This area is stricken with poverty and a general lack of education: inducing youth towards delinquency and drug consumption. More than 40% of children drop out of school in order to help their parents with work. Among these underprivileged residents, however, there is an opportunity for children to engage in musical activities with the “Recycled Orchestra.” The “Recycled Orchestra” is an orchestra with more than 300 children who play music together using musical instruments made of out garbage found in the landfill. Favio Chavez has founded the orchestra more than five years ago and since then its membership has expanded. Favio Chavez is an environmental technician and the former choir master of his church who decided to engage children in music lessons in order to encourage them not to spend leisure time in the landfill. This musical project was also made possible by Nicolas Gomez. A former trash collector, Gomez is now the luthier for the orchestra; he rummages through the garbage in the landfill and uses what he finds to make musical instruments. Old water pipes have been used to make saxophones while coins, knives, forks, and spoons have been used to make keys for woodwind instruments. Percussion drums have been constructed from X-rays, wooden pallets and trash cans. Violins have been assembled from bake trays and cans. In addition, these recycled instruments also serve another prudent purpose: instruments made of recycled materials are less likely to be stolen or sold away due to its low financial value. The “Recycled Orchestra” continues to inspire its members such as violinist Celeste Flietas who wants to become a veterinarian. Other countries, such as Spain, have formed their own recycled orchestras since the Asuncion “Recycled Orchestra” has gained international recognition. In addition, the “Recycled Orchestra” has been able to tour and perform for other countries which exposed the children to new cultures: instilling in them ideas of progress and inspiration.
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