Bahamas Waste encourages play at Centreville Primary School
Play, like more formal avenues of education, is critical to the development of young children. Sadly, for children of inner-city communities, safe spaces designed to encourage physical activity and outdoor play can be few and far between.
For many residents living in New Providence, broken park equipment, non-functioning restrooms and littered spaces have become quite commonplace. In an effort to reverse the trend, however, Bahamas Waste (BW), recently stepped up to help community leaders transform the playground at the Centreville Primary School.
“Clean, and healthy spaces, are definitely safer places, and for Bahamas Waste, there’s nothing more important than creating those kinds of spaces for our young people,” said Francisco de Cardenas, BW general manager.
The project was the brainchild of Candis Marshall, an artist and the founder of Mega-Mergers Programs, an organization which has its roots in developing initiatives for at-risk youth. Since its 2015 formation, they have now added creation or transformation of playground builds using non-biodegradable materials such as tires and palettes.
“This build was very personal for me,” said Marshall, whose children attend Centreville Primary School. “When we arrived at the school my kids were devastated, because there was no actual playground; [it was] literally just a frame. So, I approached the principal for permission to build playground elements using discarded tires, and other recycled materials.”
Designed by Australian based non-profit Playground Ideas in accordance with Marshall’s vision for the space, they were able to create a safe and inclusive play area for all students.
“What is truly exciting for me is that we were able to design the playground to accommodate children with disabilities too,” said Marshall.
What began as a small-scale build, however, quickly evolved into a major collaborative effort between local and international organizations.
“One of the things we are most proud of is the fact this playground was built with the help of the community. In total, nearly 300 volunteers gave their time and their energy to the project.”
Not only did Bahamas Waste provide tires to facilitate the build, but the company also ensured that all debris from the site was collected, transported, and properly disposed of. Waste also provided the volunteers with work gloves and other essential items for the improvement.
“[Bahamas Waste] were truly an extension of our core team. They were there, every step of the way ensuring that resources were on the ground as we needed them,” she said.
According to Marshall, the completion of the playground build is merely phase one of the works she hopes to complete at the school and is the first of several similar projects which she hopes to collaborate with her corporate partners.
“We were thrilled to see so many other entities come on board to participate. We put aside a significant portion [of] our annual budget to help facilitate such initiatives. Seeing such a truly collaborative effort is very exciting and we are always happy to lend a hand. Having seen the impeccable work Candis and her team have been able to complete in a relatively short time, Bahamas Waste is excited to be a part of her projects in the future as well,” said de Cardenas.