Hampaté Bâ School in Niamey (Niger) has found an extraordinary way to make the best of waste : a way to nurture both the students and the environment!
Opposite the school, there is a food market. Waste from that market gets dumped on a street not far from the school. Seeing the heap of garbage each morning on his way to school, Mr. Cyrille Agbodaze, the French teacher, came up with an idea: organize an end of year exhibition called « From Garbage to Goods ».
He asked students to take discarded objects, transform them, bring them to school for the end of the year show and talk about them, thus improving their French vocabulary of mundane objects.
“Many of my students are weak in French and have limited opportunities and resources, but they all have unlimited creativity. That heap of waste allowed me to tap into their creativity,” says a very proud Mr Agbodaze.
The “From Garbage to Goods” exhibition took place beginning June on the school grounds and it was a total success. Students were able to showcase their talents and creations. Aminatou, for example, presented her embroidery. And Ibrahim, Mahamadou, and Taleb-Sidi their wheelbarrow, car and humidifier.
The four main goals of the exhibition were the following:
- Sensitize students to environmental issues
- Promote activities other than academic
- Instill an entrepreneurial mindset in students
- Improve their oral skills in French
The school authorities believe that those objectives were achieved. This is what the happy and proud participants had to say.
Maybe in a near future, I’ll be able to generate an income and support my family by building and selling humidifiers. (Taleb-Sidi, 9th grade)
I really enjoyed taking part in this exhibition. When my mother and my sisters clean the house, they come across old things that are no longer of any use. Instead of plunking them out, they give them to me and I try to re-utilize them in a new way. (Mohamed, 7th grade)
I love the idea of converting waste and chuckable items into useful products. I very much enjoy working with metal.You can shape it and, with little effort, a simple piece of metal can become something else. Look at my wheelbarrow! (Ibrahim, 7th grade)
Sewing is one of my favourite pastimes. Perhaps with some help I could turn my pastime into a business, a huge big business! (Aminatou, 7th grade)
I got the idea of making a car by watching cars go by. This is the first time I have fabricated a car. My French teacher, Monsieur Cyrille, organized this exhibition and I hope that next time he’ll organize a competition because I’d like to win a prize! (Mahamadou, 6th grade)
“From Garbage to Goods” has even given ideas to the school manager. “Next academic year, the students could build a playground with discarded materials such as pallets, tires, garbage bags and plastic drums. That would be such a great project for our students especially those who do not excel academically.”
We have always appreciated your kind donations in the past. You have helped us to keep our students in school and give them the gift of education. Your continued support will help us to continue innovating and setting up new ways to motivate and boost our students.
Be part of the change! Make a difference in a child’s life and help out the environment too. Give young students a chance for a better future!
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Ibrahim with his wheelbarrow
Mahamadou with his car
Aminatou with her embroidery
Taleb-Sidi with his humidifier
Monsieur Cyrille with his creative students