Students pay their school fees, with plastic waste!
In the eastern Indian state of Assam, in the village of Pamohi, a highly innovative school is teaching students, aged between 4 and 15, to recycle while paying for their study. At Akshar School, to pay for their schooling, students don’t need to take on a debt, but rather bring in a minimum of 25 plastic waste per week. A beneficial way to learn at a reduced price, both for young people and for nature.
Recycle, rather than burn
Offering an education system that can meet both the economic and environmental needs of a community is the challenge that Parmita Sarma and Mazin Mukthar set themselves in June 2016, the founders of Akshar:
“During the winters, most families create bonfires with plastic waste and snuggle up in front to resist the cold. We wanted to change that and so we started encouraging our students to bring back their plastic waste as tuition fees. » – P. Sarma and M. Mukthar at The Better India
With this in mind, the founders succeeded in placing at the heart of the process a virtuous system that allows children to go to school free of charge,by doing a good deed. In a country where pollution rates are rising to staggering levels, the health impact cannot be neglected. In some schools, toxic fumes invade the classroom as soon as plastic burned around, Parmita Sarma remembers. What has now become a dangerous norm in India – otherwise heating up becomes complicated – could be diverted in order not to upset the daily lives of the inhabitants and avoid making them choose between comfort and education.
Collect, rather than pollute
In addition to bringing back their own garbage, students collect waste from around the school and the neighborhood. With the help of their teachers, adolescents learn through construction projects to use this waste and transform it into new infrastructure. At their own small scale, these students become the cleaners whose villages are sorely lacking. Slowly, these kids erase the image of the waste tank of which the country has become a symbol.
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