Transforming lives and inspiring her community – meet Mama Pasto

One of the first people to take part in WasteAid’s initiative in Cameroon was Djoukou Tapang Julienne who’s known to most as Mama Pasto. Her story truly shows how lives can be transformed when people are given the opportunity, support and the right tools.

When WasteAid first met the 49-year-old mother of five she was working as a “Buy and Sellam” selling bread loaded with boiled and seasoned beans, after losing her job as fund collector at a savings and credit union following an accident.

As age began to catch up with her, Mama Pasto decided that she needed another way to support her family. Now, after receiving support from WasteAid, she runs her own informal cooperative of pickers, and provides training to others in the community to ensure she leaves a lasting legacy.

Mama Pasto initially took part in a training course delivered by WasteAid, to learn how to manufacture paving tiles but after realising that she didn’t have the space or time to make the tiles she joined the charity’s programme to become a waste collector.

The WasteAid training scheme taught her collection techniques and from there Mama Pasto was given a paid internship with a local waste collection company where she collected waste from rivers and businesses. These two experiences gave her the skills and confidence she needed to become an independent collector with an income that has allowed her to support her family.