NASSAU, BAHAMAS – 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), the island’s leading waste management company, recently stepped up to help community leaders transform the playground at the Centerville 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 BW General Manager Francisco de Cardenas.
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” explained Marshall whose children attend the Centerville Primary School. “When we arrived at the school my kids were devastated because there was no actual playground, 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 nonprofit Playground Ideas according to Marshall’s vision for the space, and together they were able to create a safe and inclusive play area for all students.
“What is truly exciting for me is that were able to design the playground to accommodate children with disabilities too!”
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,” explained Marshall. “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 to improve the workflow.”
“Bahamas Waste was spectacular” gushed Marshall. “They 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.”
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” de Cardenas noted, “we put aside a significant portion our annual budget to helping 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”.