Schools that are built from plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash. I am sure you must be thinking how are plastic bottles strong enough to be the walls of a building? Instead of the traditional construction of using cinder blocks, the walls are made using “eco-brick”. Not only are these bottle schools much cheaper to build than traditional schools, they are cleaning up the environment, and the organization Hug it Forward is the facilitating the education awareness by empowering communities in Latin America to build “bottle schools”.
How I first found out about this grass root organization Hug it Forward movement was from my former professor when I attended school at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Carmita- Sanchez Fong has always been advocator for helping others and an amazing teacher. She not only taught us building materials and methods she also taught us working drawings and during a recent communication she invited me to visit the school for their showcase for this project. She had brought several interior design students to volunteer and built two schools and they would be having a preview on building C building at Fashion Institute. So of course I was intrigue and I love the opportunity to see what the present students are up to, especially in the interior design department. So I attended the presentation and was able to learn first hands about the details of the project from the students that had participated.
As I looked through the presentation and talked to the students who were part of building the bottle school I could not help but feel their optimism and how excited they were when talking about the whole experience. They said that the community they helped where so excited and the kids where such a part of the whole process, perhaps it was that these kids knew that they would finally have two new schools in their community or the fact that they too wanted to help make a difference. It appears that in Guatemala there is a big problem with inorganic trash such as bottle, plastic and garbage and there are no recycle systems in place, so the bottle school is perfect project that benefit the community and the environment.
I have included some images of the project and I encourage anybody that would like to learn more or would like to volunteer to visit http://hugitforward.org/