Today’s Solutions: June 07, 2023

A school in Nigeria is taking an innovative approach to tackle the problem of plastic waste while also promoting education. The Morit International School, located in Ajegunle, a densely populated area of Lagos, Nigeria, has launched an initiative that allows students to pay their tuition fees using plastic bottles. This initiative is not only helping to keep the environment clean, but it is also promoting awareness about the importance of sustainable living, recycling, and reducing plastic waste.

How the program works

Under the program, students can bring a minimum of 20 plastic bottles per term to cover their fees. The school has partnered with a recycling company, Chanja Datti, to collect and recycle plastic bottles. The bottles are sorted, cleaned, and processed into useful products like textiles, furniture, and building materials.

The founder of Morit International School, also known as Green Minds Academy, Patrick Mbamarah, originally established the school as a way to give back to society. 

He saw that there was a growing number of children not attending school in his impoverished community of Ajegunle, so he made sure tuition fees for his school were as low as possible.

However, even with these lower rates, Mbamarah realized that families were still struggling to pay the fees.

Fortunately, Mbamarah’s commitment to delivering accessible education to children in his neighborhood did not waver. While he faced financial issues at first, he refused to give up on his dream and instead chose to investigate new fundraising alternatives. In doing so, he uncovered a novel solution that not only solved the financial challenges that families in his neighborhood faced but also addressed the issue of plastic trash.

That’s how Mbamarah developed the RecyclesPay Educational Project, a sustainable project that allows parents to pay their children’s tuition fees using plastic bottles, based on his childhood and expertise in recycling. Mbamarah’s perseverance in overcoming hurdles and finding a solution has had a huge impact on his community and acts as an inspiration to others.

The community’s response

One parent, Ijeoma Obiora, couldn’t believe that a school would accept tuition fees in plastic bottles. Today, her 13-year-old daughter is happily attending Merit International School. 

“Academically, the school is very good for my daughter, who’s now in JSS 1. Financially, it removes my worries about having to provide education for her on a stringent budget,” Obiora shares. “These days, the first thing I do when I see a plastic bottle that has been thrown away is to pick it up. I don’t even think twice, the only thing on my mind is collecting waste to take to school.”

Students, parents, and the local government have all expressed enthusiasm for the program. According to the school administration, it has been successful in raising kids’ and parents’ consciousness about the need to recycle more and use less plastic—a claim that is supported by the experiences of families such as Obiora’s. The initiative has also made it easier for low-income families to cover their children’s educational costs.

Support for the school’s campaign to reduce plastic trash has been pledged by the government of Lagos State.

Working towards a sustainable future

The Morit International School is doing its part to make the world a better, more sustainable place through its plastic bottle payment program. It’s a great model for how schools may tackle social problems while both advancing education and sustainability. 

The program has provided the institution with a stage from which to educate the public on the significance of recycling and cutting down on plastic trash. The program’s efforts to foster a healthier and more sustainable ecosystem have also reaped long-term benefits for the area. A cleaner and more sustainable environment is one of the goals of the relationship between the school and the recycling company.

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