Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Remarkable Women: Honouring Women from Our Vancouver Communities




Moberly hosted a workshop Remarkable Women: Honouring Women from Our Vancouver Communities, brought to us by Arts & Culture, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. This annual event celebrates and recognizes the contribution of remarkable women in our community and International Women's Day.
One of the iniaitives that leads up to International Women's Day is a series of workshops for community members to create their own poster celebrating significant women in their own lives. We had the pleasure of working with a group of grade 7 girls from Moberly School who not only created a poster, but had the good fortune of a visit from one of this years Remarkable Women, Poonam Sandu. Poonam generously spent time with us and shared the story about how she and her sister created a significant contribution to the stewardship of Vancouver through a recycle program at large special events:
Vancouver sisters Preet Bal and Poonam Sandhu have been knee deep in recyclable containers for the last three years. In 2008, the pair started a pilot project to divert waste generated from the annual Vaisakhi parades in Vancouver and Surrey. These parades, which are attended by up to 100,000 people, are well known for the free food that is distributed, including bottled water, juice and pop. Due to the sheer size of the event and lack of appropriate receptacles, historically many recyclables were discarded into garbage bags.

In 2008, with a dozen blue bins and less than a dozen volunteers in tow, Preet and Poonam set up recycling stations along small sections of the parade route. Each recycling bin was staffed by a volunteer, highlighted with bilingual signage (English and Punjabi), and monitored closely to prevent contamination. The bin started as a foreign entity, but quickly became a welcome addition, saving 200 containers per hour from going to the landfill. Subsequent years have seen the pilot project successfully grow with the support of the City of Vancouver, City of Surrey,
Metro Vancouver, the respective temples hosting the parades, and an increasing force of green-minded volunteers and citizens.

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