Topeka organization helps people living in trash dumps around the world


In a place that seems unlivable, people are scavenging for their next meal. The Trash Mountain Project is helping thousands of people who live, work and eat in trash dumps in developing countries.

Founder of the Trash Mountain Project Brett Durbin said the conditions in trash dump communities are hard to grasp. 

“Even the best of what we see is the worst thing you could imagine, at least in terms of what we would be used to seeing here in the states,” Durbin said. 

Life in the dumps causes all kinds of health problems. It also changes the way people see themselves.

“Person after person that lives in those communities tells us that they feel like they’re a part of that trash,” Durbin said. 

Durbin said it’s their goal to change that.

“We’re all made in the image of God, and it’s not going to be ok with him, it’s not going to be ok with us that people are having to live the way that they’re living,” he said. 

The project works in dumps in 5 developing countries. They partner with community leaders to get people nutrition, health care and clean water. 

Trash Mountain Cheif Operating Officer Timm Collins said making sure kids are fed is helping them learn. 

“We’ve had for instance a leader in the Philippines who said he can’t chart it, he doesn’t have a spreadsheet, but he knows that as these children start receiving regular meals, their grades go up,” he said.

Durbin said they’ve seen a lot of success, but there’s much more work to do.

“On a micro scale we see it a lot, we see families that are getting out,” he said. “But on a macro scale where the community’s all the way better, we haven’t gotten to see it yet. We’re dying to see it, but it takes a lot of time.” 

The Trash Mountain Project is celebrating its 10th year. The organization is run by a staff of 8 people in the U.S. who partner with 80 community leaders around the world.

They invite people to be a part of their work through short-term missions work and by supporting the work with donations. 

You can raise money for the organization while shopping if you use this link when buying things from Amazon. Every time you shop using the link, .5% of your Amazon purchase will go towards TMP.

You can also raise money for Trash Mountain when shopping at your local Dillon’s store by using its Community Rewards program.

Through the program, Dillion’s will donate money to Trash Mountain every time you swipe your membership card. To sign up for the program, click here. After you sign into your account, edit the “Community Rewards” section and search for “Trash Mountain Project.” 

You can find more ways to support Trash Mountain on their website

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