School in India takes plastic waste as school fees

Signal of change / School in India takes plastic waste as school fees

By Carolina Altenburger / 06 Jun 2019

At a school run by the Askhar Foundation in India, students pay their student fees with plastic waste. Each child brings up to 25 items to school each week. By paying the school fee in plastic waste, the children help with the waste problem in the area and learn about the environment.  

The schools run their own recycling centre, where the waste is divided into recyclable and non-recyclable. With the non-recyclable, dry plastic, the children help to build eco-bricks that are used for simple construction projects at the school campuses. 

So what?

When founders Pamila Sarma and Mazin Mukhtar wanted to open the first Akshar school in Pamohi, Assam, they realised that local families were burning plastics in bonfires in the area to stay warm. The founders explained to the families about the risks of toxic fumes from the burned plastics and implemented a recycling scheme. One question is whether the families have found an alternative and more sustainable source of heat. 

The school project's objective was to help children in the area become both employable and responsible community members. Many children in rural areas are employed and contribute to the families' income. The school offers them toy money for the time they spend sorting in the recycling centre. This can be used in local stores for small items and the school exchanges it into real money in order to order things online. Will this be a big enough incentive for parents to send their children to school and participate in the recycling scheme? 



What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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