We like Publié le 18 novembre 2019

From the landfill to the orchestra

Favio Chávez: “The world gives us rubbish; we give them music”

The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, coordinated by the environment engineer Favio Chávez, is an orchestra composed of children from Cateura, located in Asuncion, Paraguay. This area, mired in extreme poverty, has the biggest landfill in the country, receiving almost 1.200 tons of rubbish per month.

Children and teenagers living in the place play among the waste. And it is estimated that the 40% of them fail to complete school. This is because extreme poverty obliges children to work from a very early age.
Against that background, Chavez wanted to help reduce social inequality and do everything he could to give those children their childhood back. He started by dictating music lessons. Then, he decided to select trash from the landfill that could be used as material to build instruments such as violins, violas, cellos, double basses, guitars, flutes, saxophones, trumpets and percussion instruments.

The orchestra crossed the borders of Paraguay and performed in an event that was organized by Reina Sofía, at the National Auditorium in Madrid. That marked the beginning of a tour of several cities in Spain. They also had their story documented in “Landfill Harmonic”, a film that tells the story of Chavez and some of his students.

In this way, a very ingenious social project was born, which aimed to teach much more than music, emphasizing the importance of caring for the environment, culture and education. For the members of the orchestra this project is a light of hope. It brings them closer to school, allows them to develop their creativity and have access to opportunities that might improve their future. And for their audience, The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura is proof that you can say a lot with very little.