National Energy Globe Award Cyprus (overall winner)

Submitted by: Cans For Kids
Implemented country: Cyprus
Title: Aluminum Cans Provide Medical Care for Children

Rosie Charalambous is a true blue Cypriot. A mother of two, she also works as a journalist for Cyprus Mail and Cyprus Radio and has a degree in sociology and psychology. Motivated by a sad experience, Rosie organized the Cans for Kids project. When her second child died from a brain tumor, she realized that medical care in Cyprus was lagging behind other countries, so she decided to raise funds for the Makarios Children’s Hospital in order to help sick children in Cyprus. But how?
Rosie literally found the answer lying in the road: Aluminum cans. Collecting cans provided donations, and the environment benefitted as well. When Rosie Charalambous founded Cans for Kids 22 years ago, environmental protection was not yet an issue, let alone was recycling. Rosie had a long and hard path ahead of her, but her work as a journalist contributed as well. Rosie is also an enthusiastic rally driver and used to not being scared of getting thrown off course. So she spread her message all over the country: Protect the environment! Consume less! Live more sustainably! And this is how Cans for Kids came into being. To those who wouldn’t listen to her calls for environmental protection, she argued for a good cause and a social objective. Soon, more and more medical devices at the children’s hospital sported Cans for Kids donation stickers.
What once began as a small project in Nikosia is now a household name all over Cyprus today. Hosts of volunteers collect and sort aluminum cans that are then crushed and recycled. Today, Cans for Kids collects and processes 10 per cent of all used aluminum cans in Cyprus – with only one paid employee and the dedicated service of a large number of volunteers. Up to now, 250,000 euros have been generated and donated towards better medical care for children. However, Rosie Charalambous would like to expand Cans for Kids to places where recycling is not yet a business, because ever since Cyprus joined the EU Rosie has to compete with governmentally financed recycling projects. She would also like to work more with schools because every child that Rosie can reach will go home as a potential messenger for Cans for Kids. Today, recycling is completely normal in Cyprus and mostly the result of the efforts of one mother who lost a child and wanted to help other children. Rosie’s message is an appeal to all of us because we are all citizens of this planet and we have to protect our planet in a joint effort. What a difference would it make if all of us just donated one hour a week as volunteer to such a good cause!

“Everything is possible – if you work at it!”

Rosie Charalambous

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