Assam couple starts school that accepts plastic waste as fees
A couple from Assam started a school that provides education to small children in lieu of plastic wastes. In a bid to ensure free education to children and ensuring a healthy environment.
Every students bring polythene bags full of plastic waste as the only form of fee that the school accepts.
Mazin Mukhtar along with Parmita Sharma was founded the school in June 2016.
Mazin had arrived in India from New York in 2013 for a school project. His work led him to meet Parmita Sharma, who was a social work student at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) who coincidentally was also planning to work in the education sector.
Parmita guided Mazin through the social landscape of the region, the challenges, and the statistics on paper and on-ground, ultimately leading up to the idea of starting Akshar.
Mazin said “The greatest challenge was to convince the villagers to send their kids to school. Because most of them were the earning member of the families. The little kids worked as labourers in the nearby stone quarries under harsh conditions. So, we thought of designing a curriculum that would fit their financial needs while getting the right education for them.”
We were shocked to see that these families create bonfire out of the plastic waste to beat the cold during the winter season. Hence, we decided to start educating the community about the health hazards of burning plastic. Each child brings in at least 25 items of plastic waste per week, as their contribution to their community and the environment.” Parmita added.
The couple also started lessons for the townspeople on the best way to approach reusing plastic waste by making different development materials with the plastic waste that can help in making better framework on grounds.
Akshar, the school which began with just 20 kids, presently has more than 100 children between the ages of 4 to 15 years.