Since the start of this century, the planet Earth has been reported to be suffering from the highest level of the Greenhouse effect that has ever occurred on this planet and this is putting not only nature at risk but also the fate of the human beings. This is why; there is a need to look for better initiatives to preserve the Earth. One initiative for that purpose has been started which is also to tackle another major problem prevalent in the underprivileged countries.
There is a school in India by the name Akshar which is an untraditional one. The school has made its students responsible for bringing bags of plastic waste from the town to their way to the school.
The founder of the school is the man named Mazin Mukhtar who told media that he and his wife came up with this brilliant idea back when they were in New York in 2013. He said, “We both dreamt about starting a new type of school which needed to be designed to tackle the problem of poverty for the poor children. The same year we met, we formed Akshar and then the very same year, we started the school by name Akshar Forum back in 2016.”
Mazin says, “When we started our school, the parents were not very cooperative. Then we came up with an idea that is ‘Plastic for School Fees” which was to compel these parents to recycle the waste. When the school started, it was free for many years and then we added this policy. This is kind of a mandatory homework for the kids instead of school fees. This is to remind the parents that while school is free, you can at least help not only us but yourselves too by sending us the plastic waste from your home and area to keep them clean.”
Before this school was established in the area, most children worked as child laborers in the stone quarries located nearby.
These stone quarries would pay these children 2.50 dollars each per day.
And as the school cannot pay these children, they came up with another interesting idea. The older children who can read and write; they can help the younger children to earn the Toy Currencies. These currencies can then allow them to buy paper, clothes, and snacks from school.
Even these students can ask their teachers to help them buy something online. Teachers then would change their earned money into real currency and then order them something they wish for from Amazon.
Parmita, the co-founder of the school said, “Before our initiative, many parents would burn these plastics to keep their houses warm. After we opened the school and started this initiative along with teaching them about the hazards they were exposing themselves and their families, they were shocked.”
Mazin says, “We are actually using child labor to fight child labor. They need money to live and we are not only allowing them to earn money but also learn while they do so by making them tutors as well as social workers.
Mazin says, “We are helping to place every kid into a career right in the school. Teens have developed vocational skills along with teaching from ages 12 to 18 years. In secondary school, children are learning Math, science, and English. In addition, our curriculum also adds skill trades like Embroidery, Carpentry, Photography, and Recycling. We soon plan to bring a course for the Solar Technician.
The school which started with only 20 children has now a student body of 110 children.
Mazin and Parmita is the couple who wish to create 100 more schools just like these all across India.