With a little bit of help from our friends

Dear all:

We launched a very successful  gofundme campaign 18 months ago when we first started our project in Ecuador called Mingas por el Mar and raised  $ AU 700 that we used to buy all the tools and things we needed to complete our beach clean ups, educational talks, murals and to provide some food for volunteers. Those funds have helped us run our project and we are so grateful to all the people who contributed to our cause.

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Last week we launched another gofundme campaign this time to raise some funds to get our new project going.

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This new campaign is aiming to raise $1300 AU to put together a one day event in Guayaquil which will provide a space for all the NGOs and initiatives in the country to come together and share with the community all their work.  It’s also a day to raise awareness about the importance of taking action for our environment and the centre piece of the event is constructing a big plastic mat made by people all over the country with a message of unity and working together. It’s going to be a day full of activities, talks, dance, art, music, yoga and much more.

What are the funds going to be destined for:

  • To pay for all the equipment: (speakers, microphones)to provide for the sound on the day ($400 US)
  • To pay for the printing of the photos for our photo exhibition and for all the materials to create an art instalment on the day ($200)
  • To pay for all the signage needed for the day ($150)
  • To pay for the tools and materials needed to put together the installation of the “big plastic mat” which will be the centre of the day.

This event is very important for us because it will help us raise funds for the rest of the year  to continue working on our beach clean ups and educational programs and we will also be raising funds to donate to a recycling project run by a foundation called Kahre which is helping the communities affected by the 2016 earthquake.

So far we’ve raised only 270 AU dollars out of the 1300 that we were aiming for ,so we need your help again. We were hoping to get some sponsors in Ecuador, but with the economic crisis that the country is going through, we haven’t been very successful there either.

If you could please spare some change and support our gofundme campaign , maybe share among your friends, we would appreciate it so much! I’ve shared the link of the campaign bellow. Thank you for following our journey and for all your support always.

https://www.gofundme.com/mingasporelmar

Isabel and Mick

Changes are coming..

In a couple of weeks I’ll be flying to Ecuador (solo, Mick will stay in Oz this time 😦  ) and although the main reason for this trip is to spend time with family and friends the other reason is a project that we’ve been working  on for the last few months called Ayni 11×11.

This Project was born with the intention of sharing with more people how to make our doormats and to be able to create the biggest mat made out of plastic bottle lids which will share  a message of unity, solidarity and positive change for our planet. We’ve put together a video explaining the process as well as many step by step posts  at .http://mingasporelmar.org/

At the end of my visit we’ll be organizing an event to showcase the mat and create a space for all the NGOs working in Ecuador to come together as well as local eco friendly products and alternatives, entrepreneurs and all the people and organizations working in the country to make positive change.  It’ll be a day of talks, ocean conservation, yoga, music, food and community.

There’s still a lot of work ahead but I’m pretty excited to try and make it all happen. I’m very lucky to have a great team of people in Ecuador with the same beliefs and motivation as me, helping along the way. We’ll keep you posted on how everything goes!

 

Mingas por el Mar Project in Ecuador

Imagine leaving your home country and migrating to a new place. Then returning full of excitement and hope but finding it full of trash, far worse than you could ever imagine. This is what happened to me in 2013 when I left Australia, where I’d been living for the last 9 years and returned to my home country Ecuador. My husband, Michael and I, spent 8 months here in 2013 and through the sadness and the frustration that we felt, an idea was born to start collecting plastic bottle tops and making mats and new things out of these to spread the message about plastic pollution in our oceans.

Mingas por el Mar is the name of our project. Mingas is an indigenous word that means collective work done for the benefit of the community and Mar means the Sea. With this project we’d like to motivate the Ecuadorians to take more action and take responsibility for the state of the oceans.

We’ve already been back in Ecuador almost a month and the campaign has already started. On 4 of December, we had our first visit to a little coastal town called Valdivia. We worked together with Javier who is a local biologist in charge of the Aquarium of Valdivia, the only place along the whole coast of Ecuador where they have basic means for rescuing marine animals. Javier is eager to create change in his community so it was of great help to us and we worked really well together.

We spent two days in Valdivia, the first day we visited the local school and did a talk to the year 9 students. Then later at night, we showed the documentary in the centre of town and we also had a display of our collection of marine debris. There were a few interested locals who came and asked us questions and enjoyed the documentary.

The next morning we did a beach cleanup. We had around 20 children from the town, 10 German volunteers that were working with Javier in the Aquarium from the organization called NGO Taxi and some other volunteers from Guayaquil and the surrounding towns.

Together we managed to collect around 56 sacks full of rubbish and 5 of these sacks were filled with recyclable materials. A lot of the rubbish collected comes from the fishermen that out of ignorance throw everything and anything to the oceans, but it also comes from tourists and from the same communities. Waste management is still a big problem here in Ecuador and the amount of disposable plastics being used every day is huge.

In addition to this, we were part of two fairs and one market in the city of Guayaquil, where we had a small stall with our mats and our collection of marine debris. We are trying to participate in as many things as possible because we want to spread our message loud and wide: we all need to be part of the change; we can all do something to improve this situation. We’ve also visited two universities and showed the documentary in the city’s museum of contemporary art “The Maac” and had a display of our “museum of marine debris” for people to understand through visuals our impact in the oceans.

During these two months that we’ll stay in the country we are planning to visit 6 different coastal communities and spend three days in each place, visiting schools, showing the documentary Bag It, doing workshops on how to create rubbish bins using plastic bottles, how to construct mats with plastic bottle lids and organizing beach clean ups involving the communities.

Starting the New Year, we’ll have a beach cleanup every Saturday of the month. The month of January is an important month because is the start of the “temporada” or the summer time in the country and also the start of the rainy season, so this is when more rubbish is produced and lots of it will end up in our oceans.

While we enjoy the Christmas holidays, we are trying to rest up and regroup as we know how busy this new year will be. We know, this is just a drop in the ocean, there are lots to be done, but if we don’t start somewhere, we will never accomplish anything. We have to start somewhere and this is our start, hoping that it will ignite change in the minds and lifestyles of many Ecuadorians.