The Power of Community: Schools built from trash, not bricks

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Can trash help to bring education to the poorest on the planet? Yes, it can! Hug It Forward, a San Diego-based non-profit organization, builds up new schools in Guatemala on a shoestring budget by turning the plastic bottles into raw construction materials. Many benefits for the community, kids and our eco-system included.

Building up houses and schools is a pretty expensive undertaking in our hemisphere, widely funded by governments and local authorities. The situation in developing countries isn’t that different, except the fact that comprehensive funds are widely missing. But there is a way out of resignation and despair. The proof that it all can be done with much lower costs and a sustainable focus, happens these days in Guatemala with the power of community and the original technology developed by PuraVida, a Guatemalan non-profit organization.

As you’ve seen in the video kids, students and volunteers stuff the plastic bottles with plastic bags and other insulating trash. More bags fill in the gaps between bottles. The bottles were bound between layers of chicken wire which are attached to a metal frame. Up to three layers cement mixed with sand where applied to the outside of the bottles, with paint adding the finishing touch. Done! Isn’t that an awesome and simple idea worth spreading?

 

Long-range benefits

Finally it’s not just about providing the much needed educational infrastructure for poorer communities, moreover streets get cleaned of non-biodegradable trash and environmental awareness about recycling and proper trash managements raises. Fostering community leadership and teaching new skills that can be used to gain employment or on other community projects is just an other side-product.

The ownership of the schools is given directly to the kids, because they built them up with their own hands and commitment. As reported on their website, the coming togheter as one during the project, additionally has a wide uniting-effect on the communities.

Until now Hug It Forward already built 12 Bottle Schools and four more are in the works. If you want to know more about the Project visit their Website or spread their project via Facebook or Twitter.

 
Posted by Stefan Wurzer on September 28th, 2011
 

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