“They keep throwing garbage on our wall.”

Day after day, the wall surrounding Nile Union Academy became the refuse dump for the community. “I’m sorry,” said the people, “but we have no other options.”

You see, in Cairo, Egypt, there are not many places to put trash. Throughout the city, piles of trash can be seen burning along the side of the road. It seemed that there were no good solutions. There was simply too much trash and nowhere to put it.

But God has special workers around the world, and He uses them in unique ways to His glory.

Rony owned a successful company that recycled electronic equipment in Brazil, but he felt that God was calling him to do something bigger.

"I have a passion for helping people, and I'm thankful that God gave me a wife who shares my desire," says Rony. "Three years ago, we dedicated our lives to serving others and asked God to send us to a place where we could be a blessing."

Rony and staff clean up the academy wall.
Rony and his student workers have moved more than 250 tons of garbage!
Rony explains his trash sorting process.
Bags of recyclables ready to be crushed and sold.
A model of Rony’s new dream: a community park.

God led Rony and his wife to Nile Union Academy and gave them a passion for cleanup!  Rony noticed that the campus wall had become the community dump, and he wanted to change that. Since the city workers cleared the area only every two months, he started his project by going out and cleaning around the wall every day.

Garbage continued to pile up, and people told him that he would never last and should give up this impossible dream. Nonetheless, Rony pressed on.

He began working closely with the academy students to educate and employ them to be stewards of the earth. “It’s fun to see the students come and say, ‘I want to work with you.’” No one wanted to work with the garbage before Rony started his program. The garbage was collected and burned inside the school. This was the least popular student job available, and it was almost always the last chosen.

"Now we have a line of students waiting to work with me next semester. They can see something good in this project, and it's rewarding to see that they want to get involved," Rony says proudly.

He has created a special system to teach the students the proper way to recycle or dispose of the trash left along their wall. Rony explains, “We separate by color to make it easier for everyone to understand.”

Green means anything recyclable. Brown is for food waste or compost that can be used on the academy farm. And gray represents regular trash or anything unknown. They use this system on campus, teaching the students, workers, and teachers how to separate their waste. Slowly, this concept is being introduced to the local community.

Once the trash has been separated appropriately, all recyclables are brought to the campus sorting facility. Plastic, glass, and cardboard are then sorted for the next step: pressing. “We press them in this machine to sell. So we can clean the community, treat the garbage properly, and make money to improve human development for the community," Rony says.

Since the beginning of the project, Rony and the student workers have already moved more than 250 tons of garbage! The program has earned the respect of city leaders who recognized Rony’s hard work. Now, they send trash pickup three times a week!

Rony doesn’t want to stop there. His next dream is to build a beautiful community park outside the academy walls. He wants to impact the community in positive ways to bring others to Jesus.

It may not be a glamorous calling, but Rony feels he is right where God wants him to be. “If I can help this community, learn to understand the people and improve their lives, I'm happy with that.”

To watch a video about Rony, called “The Trash Transformation,” visit

Photos by Ricky Oliveras

Kayla Ewert
Kayla Ewert is a communication projects manager for the Office of Adventist Mission at the Seventh-day Adventist Church world headquarters.