Seven years ago San Juan La Laguna established a municipal garbage pick-up for residents of the community. The municipal trucks collect trash door-to-door and transport it to a municipal dump, free of charge. Many organizations, both international and local, have worked with the community on environmental education with the result that most of the youth now understand the importance of proper waste management and protecting their natural environment. However, the older generations do not have the desire or the consciousness for recycling.Because of that fundamental breakdown in understanding, the Liceo Sistemático Integral (LISI) initiated a program for educated the rest of the community. Once a week the 9th grade students make house calls to educate the older members of the community about proper waste management and recycling. In an effort to reinforce these lessons and offer a viable solution to the waste problem, the student encouraged the community members to make eco-bricks, stuffing their plastic trash in used plastic bottles. Cans, paper and other recyclables are given to the school to sell for scrap and eventual recycling. The school is able to use that money for extracurricular school activities.

Recently, the mayor reneged on his promise to the school of new infrastructure, and the administrators were forced to look for new land. With the help of the parents the school was able to raise money and take out loans to fund the construction of the new school on a new site. In an effort to stretch the last pennies of their loans, the administrators, parents, and students decided to embark on the construction of an addition to the school, using the eco-bricks.

They succeeded in getting the walls erected and floor leveled, but they ran out of funds necessary to complete the work and looked to Hug It Forward for support. Hug It Forward partnered with the community of San Juan La Laguna, led by their energetic school principal Daniel Hernandez, to ensure that their valiant and creative efforts do not go to waste. Their hard work and investment of time and energy was transformed into new, safe, clean, and ecological school infrastructure.

Location: San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala
Population: 4,041
Elementary School
Classrooms: 1
School number: 13
Birthday: September 2011