Industrial engineering student Albina Ruiz was disturbed by the trash she saw around her in Lima, Peru. It was the late 1980s, and uncollected trash was a huge problem for many of the poorer urban areas, creating health problems and contaminating the city’s water supply. Foul odors and toxic fumes emanated from the piles of trash, which were breeding grounds for rats and diseases such as cholera. Determined to address the problem, Ruiz established a microentrepreneurial enterprise, hiring the unemployed to pick up the garbage. After a number of years, she expanded the program, creating the nonprofit Ciudad Saludad, or “Healthy City,” in 2001, thus continuing the microentrepreneurial, community-managed model that had been so successful. Over the years, other cities and countries adopted the Ciudad Saludad model. By 2012, Ruiz’s enterprise was vast?with over 1,500 waste collectors?and had improved the lives of more than six million people in poverty-stricken areas.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia