This Lagos School Allows Parents Pay Children’s Fees With Plastic Bottles | DETAILS

At a time plastic bottles are causing nuisance in the environment, parents in Morit International School, Ajegunle, Lagos have found an economical use for them. The school now allows parents to pay their children’s fees with cleanly sorted plastic bottles gathered from the environment.

This became possible after the school adopted the RecyclesPay Educational Project, an initiative of African Clean Up Initiative (ACI), an environmental non-governmental organisation in Lagos.

The school authority embraced the initiative following their concern about reducing the burden of parents paying their wards fees. Over 25 parents of the low-income school have embraced the initiative whereby parents bring plastic wastes on designated days.

Alexander Akhigbe, through his initiative, collects the recyclable wastes, weighs them, and deducts the value from their children’s school fees.

Wecyclers, the recycling company attached to the project comes to collect the plastic bottles after weighing what each parent has brought.

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BBC Africa interviewed some of the parents, women especially. One of the women identified as Sherifat Okunowo, said the initiative has really been a blessing to her as she used to struggle to pay her children’s school fees.

She told BBC:

”I struggle to pay for my children’s school fees. Sometimes, I pay half the price and later pay the remaining balance but with the introduction of the project, the plastic has made it easy for me to pay the school fees.”

”It has helped a lot of people, lots of parents and even me. It has helped us,” another mom said.

 

Proprietor of the school, Mr. Patrick Mbamara, described the RecyclesPay Educational Project a welcome initiative.    

”It is helping to cushion the financial burden of parents in the school. We have a history of parents finding it difficult to pay each term school fees of N7, 500.   

The money from the PET bottles is not much but it balances for what the parents can pay. I and my staff are happy with this initiative. It has improved parents payment of school fees and it teaches the children how to manage their waste and promote a cleaner environment.”

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Chief Environmental Officer of ACI, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, noted that the money realized by each parents might look small but it is of value. He explained that a kilo of the sorted plastics goes for N20 to N25, adding that little drops of money realized helps make up for the balance of the school fees. According to him:

“PET bottles in the past were seen as waste but they are not anymore. Parents can raise money from collecting them and making them available to recyclers. They in turn convert it to other products usable by man.

The recyclers weigh the plastic bottles and pen the kilogramme each parent brought. A kilogramme of PET bottles goes for N20 to N25 per kilo depending on the recycler. If a parent comes with 10 kilo, he or she will get N200 to N250.

It looks like a huge effort is required. However; it’s valuable to the environment and parents struggling to pay their children’s school fees.

Wecyclers comes two times a week to collect the sorted waste from the parents. This is to encourage parents who do not have space in their homes to be storing the waste.”

He concluded that the project, which started last year, was first introduced to Morit International School, Ajegunle. He added that more schools across the country were buying into it.

Elated by the commitment to the RecyclesPay Project, management of the Miss Earth Nigeria surprised the parent. Twenty students, whose parents showed active participation in the initiative were given scholarship by the organisation during the ‘Pick that plastic and stay in school’ held in the school.

The scholarship served as part payment of the school fees. The gathered recyclable of the parents will be used to complete the school fees for this term.    

Maristella Okpala, Miss Earth Nigeria 2018 said Nigeria is a consuming nation and some people were not aware they could benefit from littered PET bottles, hence the need for thesensitisation. 

Ibinabo Fiberesima, founder of Miss Earth Nigeria, who also donated waste bin to the school said if the environment is kept clean that it is the only way to live.

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Mrs. Agnes Frances, one of the excited parents and beneficiary of the scholarship was full of joy for the surprise gift from the management of Miss Earth Nigeria. The trader, 31, whose child is in primary 1 said they have been struggling to pay school fee but the RecyclesPay Educational project is a good support.

Mrs. Monsurat Sulaimon, whose child is in nursery 1 said she participated in the project because of what she needed from it. She used her space at Boundary market, Ajegunle to heap the waste till collection time in the school.

The Recyclespay Educational programme is running presently at Morit International School, Ajegunle, Lagos and Road 12 Learning Center Ikota, Ilaje Ajah, Lagos. 

It would also start next term at Monarch Base Private School, Alagbado, Lagos and some other schools. The initiative is hoping to impact the lives of 10,000 children through its work.

 

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