The thousands of tires discarded by motorists each year contribute to polluting the environment; but now they have a purpose: they are useful for people in extremely poor communities by turning them into decorative furniture like stools, chairs, tables, thanks to the support from a group of students from Universidad del Valle de México Campus Lomas Verdes.
The Enactus team from UVM Campus Lomas Verdes led by Angélica Cifuentes, worked with the Sierra de Guadalupe community, located in Tultitlán, México, to turn tires into furniture. The students first established alliances with companies that donated most of the raw materials like tires and scraps of cloth and wood to create products with high quality and design.
The community is currently selling chairs, stools and tables through social media and in ecological fairs and traveling markets. The objective of the community of Sierra de Guadalupe is to expand their market in fixed sales points and later commercialize their products at a national level and in other countries.
Erika Talía Arias Soto, a UVM alumnus from Campus Lomas Verdes, was the winner of the 2014 UVM Award for Social Development with her project “Ecogoods”; a sustainable program that develops business abilities in women and youth entrepreneurs creating design products that involve ecological materials and processes.
Through the implementation of design and industrial material management workshops, Ecogoods offers poor women the chance of improving their quality of life becoming socially responsible entrepreneurs. By reusing tires, cloth and wood, the project creates employment in extremely poor suburban communities. Furthermore, it helps to raise awareness in the business community to find useful alternatives for industrial wastes.
The Ecogoods project is currently benefitting families in the community of Sierra de Guadalupe and it shows how working together will allow them to expand their work to other communities. Erika Talía believes “Social entrepreneurship in Mexico must follow a shared vision between emerging communities and the civil society with innovative plans that allow us to share life from a more honest and just perspective”
The 2014 UVM Award for Social Development recipient commented that the resources granted by this recognition will be used to purchase tools, to make better use of the space where Ecogoods currently operates and to install a play center for the communities’ children.
Enactus is a global non-profit organization formed by graduate students who seek to positively impact environmental, social and economic factors. The UVM Campus Lomas Verdes Enactus team works with academic advisors and businesses to create synergy to promote life-changing projects.