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Place of Residence: Atlanta
The idea first came to Delgarde, a native of Haiti, while seeing stripes being painted on a road in the United States. He realized how readily paint is accessible here. In stark contrast, during a trip to Uganda and Kenya he was struck by the number of unpainted churches and schools.
“You can’t get enough even to paint your home,” he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
In Delgarde’s native, Haiti they burn wood to make a temporary paint that washes off when it rains. And while it may not seem like a big deal, growing up in an unpainted home or attending an unpainted school can effect self esteem.
And there are also health issues involved.
The United Nations Human Settlements Program estimates that approximately 2.8 million children globally die each year because of the bacterial objects and diseases that can build up on dirt walls located in schools and homes in the developing world.
When he arrived in Miami from Haiti, Delgarde noticed the paint differential right away.
“People paint their house[s] yellow, white, red, blue and I said, ‘Wow, there’s so much paint in this country!’” Delgarde told CNN.” I said, ‘When I get money in this country, I’m going to buy paint and take paint back home.’”
Instead, Delgarde did something smarter. He started going to construction sites and asking for their unused paint. Now, he collects the paint and reprocesses it before sending it to countries like Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Chile, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Delgarde has collected more than 80,000 gallons of paint so far.
His group is working on purchasing a machine that would allow them to more quickly process the paint and on securing partnerships with large paint manufacturers and sellers. As word of his charity has gotten out, so have the calls for paint. So far, Global Paint for Charity has helped to provide paint for an orphanage in Guinea for children who lost their parents to AIDS, among other international projects.
For his efforts, Delgarde was named a 2013 Allstate Champion for Good.
And using the paints also benefits people here in the United States by lessening the chance that it will pollute the environment. Every year, more than 15 million gallons of commercial and residential paint winds up in landfills, increasing the chance that the toxins from the paint can pollute our water supply.
“It sounds so simple but the benefits are so amazing,” said Delgarde.
Hear more of Delgarde’s story below: