Sunday, December 11, 2011
Building Schools out of Trash
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, empowers communities to build new schools in Guatemala on a shoestring budget by turning plastic soda bottles and other trash 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 to turn distant dreams of education into reality, by harnessing the power of community and collaboration.
First, each child in the village is asked to collect at least 20 plastic bottles. The students and volunteers
stuff the bottles with plastic waste, such as Styrofoam, snack wrappers and plastic bags for insulation.
The more compacted, the sturdier the building blocks and the less garbage remaining on the streets.
The bottles were bound between layers of chicken wire which are attached to a frame (usually made of
reinforced concrete, but made of metal in this picture). Students stuff waste plastic in between the bottles.
Up to three layers of cement mixed with sand is applied to the outside of the bottles,
with paint adding the finishing touch.
DONE! Isn't that an awesome and simple idea worth spreading?
It's not just about providing the much-needed educational infrastructure for poorer communities - streets get cleaned of non-biodegradable trash and environmental awareness is raised about recycling and proper trash management. Fostering community leadership and teaching new skills that can be used to gain employment or on other community projects is just another 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 the Hug It Forward Website, the coming together as one during the project has a far reaching uniting-effect on the communities.
You would never know the main ingredient if they did not leave cutouts...
The Bottle School Project, by Hug It Forward, built their first school in Granados, Guatemala, in October 2009, over 5,000 plastic bottles were used to build two classrooms, containing 2053lbs of trash and using 9720lbs of cement. 297 children and youth currently attend the school, which serves a municipality of 13,860 people throughout 95.75 square miles. Since the completion of the Granados project, Hug It Forward has built 14 Bottle Schools and has four more in the works. Learn all about Hug It Forward's Bottle Schools in this Video
Insulating walls with plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash was pioneered in Guatemala by the organization Pura Vida. Instead of the common cinder-block walls used in Central America, "eco-bricks" are stacked in between chicken wire, and covered in cement. The bottles are used solely as insulation; the buildings are supported by professionally built, structurally sound frames. This method of construction is both eco-friendly and economical, and independent structural analysis has testified to the strength and safety of the buildings.
Hug It Forward works to support and empower communities in Guatemala
to build Bottle Schools using discarded plastic bottles and non-biodegradable
trash. Bottle School projects have many benefits, including:
— Providing much needed educational infrastructure for poorer communities
— Cleaning the streets of non-biodegradable trash
— Teaching environmental awareness, recycling and proper trash management
— Fostering community leadership
— Teaching new skills that can be used to gain employment or on other community projects
— Spending capital within the local community where the school is being built
— Giving kids ownership of the school, because they build it with their own hands
— Uniting communities, they come together as one during the project
If you'd like to know more about the Project visit their Website
or spread the word about their project via Facebook Here or Twitter Here. Hug It Forward's mission is to unite people across the world: we are all one people.
One HUGE thing you can do: Instead of getting gifts this year, why not ask your friends to make a donation to Bottle Schools in your honor? Your sacrifice will enable kids to build their own school and have the chance of an education and a brighter future. Donate Your Christmas HERE!
Saturday, December 03, 2011
As You Travel Through Life….
As you travel through life there are always those times
When decisions just have to be made,
When the choices are hard, and solutions seem scarce,
And the rain seems to soak your parade.
There are some situations where all you can do
Is simply let go and move on,
Gather your courage and choose a direction
That carries you toward a new dawn.
So pack up your troubles and take a step forward -
The process of change can be tough,
But think about all the excitement ahead
There might be adventures you never imagined
Just waiting around the next bend,
And wishes and dreams just about to come true
In ways you can't yet comprehend!
Perhaps you'll find friendships that spring from new things
As you challenge your status quo,
And learn there are so many options in life,
Perhaps you'll go places you never expected
And see things that you've never seen,
Or travel to fabulous, faraway worlds
And wonderful spots in between!
Perhaps you'll find warmth and affection and caring
And somebody special who's there
To help you stay cantered and listen with interest
To stories and feelings you share.
Perhaps you'll find comfort in knowing your friends
Are supportive of all that you do,
And believe that whatever decisions you make,
They'll be the right choices for you.
So keep putting one foot in front of the other,
And taking your life day by day...
There's a brighter tomorrow that's just down the road -
Don't look back! You're not going that way!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Be thankful that you don't already have
everything you desire — if you did,
what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something...
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times...
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations...
They give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge...
Which will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes...
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary...
Because it means you've given your all.
It's easy to be thankful for the 'good' things...
Yet, a life of rich fulfillment comes to those
Who are thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive...
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
And they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown
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