A creative social initiative called Music for Recycling in Spain uses music, education, and recycling to improve the lives of children and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.


This innovative program brings together youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to play instruments that are made from scraps and plastics and other waste materials that would otherwise be thrown away and end up in landfills and become a threat to the environment.


Turning waste materials into musical instruments for disadvantaged youths
Cristina Vazquez

Cristina Vazquez is an 18-year-old Roma teen girl and a member of the orchestra who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Madrid, Spain. 


She never thought that she would become a member of the inventive orchestra and play a musical instrument. 

Now, she is the orchestra’s first violinist.


“I am really happy, because it has changed my life a lot,” said Cristina Vazquez.



The project was founded by a Spanish environmental group called Ecoembes. 

They were inspired by Paraguay’s Cateura orchestra, which includes musicians from slum areas who play instruments made from scraps and waste materials. This proves that good inspiration will light up the world.


Back in 2014, the Ecoembes group invited the Cateura Orchestra team to perform in Madrid. 

“The group decided to found its own similar ensemble that same year,” said Víctor Gil, the director of the initiative and the conductor of the orchestra.


After conducting shows in several cities across Spain, the orchestra gifted four of its members by giving scholarships at music schools and public conservatories. 


Over 100 children are now taking music classes from members of the orchestra as part of the Music for Recycling initiative.

“Si no tienes oportunidades, es difícil avanzar y lo bonito de este proyecto es darte cuenta de cómo estos niños y niñas han sabido aprovechar esta oportunidad, a través de la música, que la vida les ha puesto por delante,” said Vector Gil.



“If you don’t have opportunities, it is difficult to move forward and the beauty of this project is to realize how these boys and girls have known how to take advantage of this opportunity, through music, that life has put them ahead of them.”



Luthier Fernando Soler is the guy who is making musical instruments using discarded materials like cans, wooden boxes, and cutlery. 

He tries to make the instruments as close to the exact form factor of the original instruments.


“Being part of the orchestra is like being in a family, and doing what pleases us most,” says Luis Miguel Munoz, an 18-year-old boy in the orchestra. “Instead of meeting up with friends, I preferred to listen to music, play it, and little by little it became a way of life.”


We could describe this is as a project filled with passion and humanity with care for the environment. Our world needs more initiatives like this.


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