The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many of the poor communities we work with especially hard. In Mexico, for example, the potters we trained to use lead-free glaze in their traditional ceramics are now facing hardship because they cannot go out and sell their wares.
Some, like the family of these two boys (pictured below), are appealing to nature for help–the boys are wearing necklaces made of flowers and cookies called Huahuaonqui. The flowers symbolize the mountains, and the cookies represent food they are praying for.
To help meet their immediate needs during this challenging time, Pure Earth has distributed packages of essential staples, such as rice and oil, to communities we work with around the world
Philippines: Help For Families and Frontline Workers
In the Philippines, Pure Earth delivered supplies to mining families in Benguet, a soup kitchen feeding the poorest in Pasig, and to families in Ate Cita in Meycauayan, Muntinlupa City and Quezon City.
In addition, Pure Earth also provided masks, alcohol sanitizers and vitamin C for frontline workers in local communities in Tagbilaran, Iloilo.
Mexico: Online Store, Pottery Exchange Program
In Mexico, Fundación Merced is helping generously with the food supplies we’re distributing to artisan families in Tlayacapan, Morelos; Acteopan and Cohuecan in Puebla; and Metepec in the state of Mexico.
But Pure Earth is also thinking long term.
A newly-launched online store on Pure Earth’s Barro Aprobado Facebook page is helping artisans make a living during the lockdown. The store, which is now only open to those living in Mexico City, will eventually expand to help Barro Aprobado-certified potters get their lead-free pottery to a bigger market.
Pure Earth is also expediting the formation of a pottery exchange program in Mexico, which makes lead-free pottery available to poor families with high blood-lead levels. The program will be stocked with lead-free pottery from 16 artisan families, providing a sustainable source of income for these potters during the pandemic and beyond.
Colombia: Food for 155 Families
In Colombia, Pure Earth assembled and delivered bags of emergency provisions for 155 families in Malambo, a community that has already been through one public health crisis–years of toxic exposure to lead poisoning.
Each one of these families are part of the solution.
They are all working with us to help reduce pollution and clean up their communities to keep children safe. From the potters we’ve trained to go lead-free in Mexico, to gold miners we’ve helped to go mercury-free in Colombia and beyond. Until we can safely continue our work in these communities, we will stay connected with them and offer our support.