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 user 2007-04-03 at 9:59:00 am Views: 54
  • #17653

    Recycled printer cartridges aid Ugandans in need
    A community meeting house was built in the Acholi Quarter in the Banda district of Kampala, Uganda, with the money Project Have Hope raised last year.
    April  2007–Three large boxes sit in the office of Anna Ciulla, chairperson of UD’s Department of Medical Technology, waiting to be mailed out to two recycling companies. Sixty cartridges are in the boxes, a $150 profit for Project Have Hope, a nonprofit organization that raises money for the families of the Acholi Quarter in the Banda district of Kampala, Uganda.

    Ciulla began collecting cartridges after learning about the experience her niece Karen Sparacio had during a two-week photography workshop in Uganda. Ciulla said Sparacio was so moved by the poverty of the families there that she began Project Have Hope upon her return to the United States. Project Have Hope was originally organized to help 100 women and their families. Sparacio and 20 volunteers from different states began collecting used ink and laser cartridges from printers and recycling them to pay for the school fees for Acholi children. Ciulla said they were able to send 32 children to school this year with the money they raised, paying for books, uniforms, towels and mattresses for children going to boarding school.“What we’re trying to do is enhance the lives of these people,” Ciulla said. “Giving them an education is the best way to help them.”The organization also has helped develop cooperative businesses for the Acholi people, including a peanut butter business and a chicken farm. Using loans, the Acholi women have created their own businesses, such as vegetable stands and cafes to begin making money within their village.Ciulla supports her niece’s organization by collecting printer cartridges at the University. In her office, Ciulla collects, identifies and packages the cartridges to send to recycling companies. The companies pay from 50 cents to 15 dollars for the cartridges, Ciulla said, and in 2006 she made $4,000 from UD cartridges alone.Ciulla said the University mailroom also helps collect laser cartridges and brings them to her office. “It’s a very nice gesture on the part of the mailroom to help with this project,” Ciulla said.
    Ciulla said Uganda has been engulfed in a civil war for more than 20 years. Families are fleeing the north to save their children from being taken as soldiers, Ciulla said, and are becoming refugees in the south with no means to provide for themselves. “We are trying to help them help themselves by recycling cartridges,” Ciulla said. “It’s an easy way to do something with cartridges that would normally be thrown out.”Sparacio also sells the beads Acholi women make out of recycled paper and lacquer. The profits from the beads go directly to the women to support them and their families, to start local businesses and to help pay part of their children’s school fees. Ciulla said the beads are sold in stores in New Jersey and Massachusetts and at Gecko Fashions at 146 East Main St. in Newark. Ciulla also has sold the paper beads locally and makes them available for the UD community.Ciulla said students, staff and faculty can send their ink-jet cartridges to her office in envelopes through campus mail, which does not require postage. She said people also can help by selling the beads at craft events or by hosting beadware parties.By improving the lives of some of the Acholi people, Ciulla said she and Sparacio are hoping those helped will reach out to help others.

    Project Have Hope helped send 32 Ugandan children to school this year.“If we can get these children educated, they will be better off,” she said. “If we can maintain this momentum with 100 people, perhaps we can grow to help 100 more.”To send ink-jet cartridges, place in an envelope and send to Ciulla at 305 Willard Hall Education Building. For more information about the beads and cartridges, e-mail []. For more information about the organization, visit [