Casa Milagro is involved in helping improve the environment around Santa Cruz and Lake Atitlan.

Santa Cruz is located in a hurricane prone area. In 2009, Hurricane Agatha devastated parts of the neighboring village of Jaibalito.  Relief and rebuilding efforts are ongoing.

There are currently three initiatives in progress at Casa Milagro.

ECCOLADRILLOS –  Together with mothers, children, and seniors, we collect and fill about 250 plastic bottles a month. We find the plastic bottles at the lake shore or around the village and fill the bottles with small pieces of garbage. These packed bottles built from recycled trash serve as a useful building material. The environmental committee in Santa Cruz has already used these bottles in the building of environmentally friendly, composting toilets in the village. We have also donated bags of Eccoladrillos to an organization in San Marcos dedicated to the construction of these composting toilets or Ecobanos. To find out more information about this initiative, please visit Pura Vida.  

RECYCLING – Recycling is very important to us at Casa Milagro. We make an effort to ensure that we always use recyclable products in each of our activities. In every activity  we spend time with the children explaining how we can reuse or recycle the different materials we are using at the time. We hope that by explaining this to the children, we will in turn teach them how to have a natural recycling system in their own homes. Our focus at Casa Milagro is on reuse and also avoiding certain materials that are not easily recyclable. For example, when cooking we prefer not to buy foods out of tins or prepared foods in plastic bags etc. We also collect batteries and store them correctly, since there is currently not a recycling system for them yet.

We also work with the Recycling Center, which is located in a nearby town.We partner with the Recycling Center in order to collect used and still usable papers, cardboard etc. for our activities. We routinely organize visits there to share knowledge about good recycling practices.

TREE PLANTING – Every year before the rainy season (May – October) we buy about 500 – 800 trees and plant them together with the children. We hold special workshops with the children and mothers on how to plant and nourish the little trees every year. We also explain why it is important for us to care for the trees and our environment.

This year we are very happy to have started a workshop on planting Papaya trees. Papayas are very expensive for the locals, but they are a very good additional nourishment for the children and can eventually become a source of income. As of 2011, we have planted about 400 papaya trees.  The community has shown a lot of interest in the workshop, including seniors who have found a place around their homes to try to plant Papaya trees. We plan to continue this project every year!

Photographs of the effects of Hurricane Agatha and recycling and relief efforts


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