Junior Cristy Tono is literally helping make the world a better place.
Currently completing a three month internship in Tola, Nicaragua through the Foundation for Sustainable Development, Tono is working on a project to establish a recycling center within the community and educate the locals on the importance of environmental consciousness.
Tono mentioned that creating her project took a lot of time and preparation, but that it is coming together well. “First I got to know the community and the family I was going to be staying with for three months. After assimilating myself into the community, making contacts, getting to know the host organization, their needs, and the needs of the community my supervisor and I developed a work plan that focused on a prominent issue in the community: trash.”
“My goal became clear: to encourage environmental consciousness in the community through teaching to make crafts made from recycled materials more specifically knitting with plastic bags, making pinatas, cultural masks, and jewelry,” she said.
After figuring out her project focus, Tono planned out how the program would unfold. “My project includes three phases: the establishment of a recycling center where trash can be sorted and picked up weekly, craft trainings, and strengthening their information on environmental health to encourage a deeper consciousness in the community. The crafts produced can be sold to local tourists which will motivate the participants of the trainings to continue resulting in more trash being picked up, while also encouraging other locals to participate.”
She also mentioned that as of right now, no recollection system is established in the Limon 2 community in Tola. The trash that does get collected gets burned which causes many toxic chemicals to be put in the air, also causing respiratory issues for the locals, according to Tono.
With her main interest being environmental education, Tono knew this would be a great opportunity to take. “I have always been fascinated by people. Their cultures, their motivations, their way of life. In addition to my interest in environmental education, I saw this community development internship as an opportunity to put the two together.” Through the internship, Tono was placed a community library called Puertas del Saber (Doors to Knowledge) to complete her research.
Tono is also enjoying her time abroad aside from her project. “I am absolutely loving Nicaragua. I love this community,” she said. “I love learning something new from every person I encounter and working on a project that will continue in my absence. I am planning on coming back in May.”
Tono is also looking for the help of the St. Mary’s community to fund her project. Donations can be made to help Tono achieve her goal successfully by clicking here for her project’s website. The last day to donate is Thursday, Nov. 15.