“Pick a Piece” is a project operated by volunteers in Prince Albert. Children are encouraged to collect any recyclable waste they can find at home or lying around and to bring that to a central point on a Wednesday afternoon. Here the recyclables are weighed according to type and instead of being given money for the value of the waste, the children receive points. They can then immediately redeem the points for necessities such as toiletries, school supplies, food or blankets or for some treats such as toys. There are also sandwiches, soup and fruit available which they can get for one point per serving. The other items are ‘priced’ in terms of points depending on the value of the item.
The idea with the project is to provide an opportunity for children, especially those who are very marginalized, to have access to things they need through their own effort, so that they are not dependant entirely on adults who sometimes do not care for them as they should. In addition the project fits in with the broader recycling project in town, boosting the collection of recyclables, keeping the living environment of the children cleaner, teaching about environmental health and providing the opportunity for other educational initiatives as well.
Violetta Makwatie (Lettie) , an employee of the Depth Leadership Trust, attends the Pick a Piece project every week in order to provide an opportunity for the children to do art and draw after bringing their recyclables. Art and drawing provide an outlet for children’s (often unexpressed) emotions, and under Lettie’s guidance and care, the children develop their creativity, and have an opportunity to express themselves.