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Waste to Wealth: Inside the school made from trash in Cambodia

By Bisola Adeyemo

On a remote mountain in Cambodia, there is a school built on trash, which made Cambodia the only place in the world where trash is more valuable than money.

The founder Mr. vanday who spoke to Nasdaily during an interview expressed that he did not begin his life as a teacher but as a mere hotel manager.

The amount of trash dumped by residents of Phnom Penh troubled him so much that he decided to put it to good use and turn it into a school.

he started to pick up trashes and build it into a school. This alone contributes a great impact on the environment by making it clean, as well as helping the poor kids to go to school

His word “I was inspired after I visited a popular tourist park called Kirirom national park, I was surprised about the amount of trash instead of trees and lakes, families enjoying the day, I saw kids meant to be in school selling souvenirs.”

This inspired him to established the Coconut School on Koh Dach (Silk Island), founded in 2013 after he quit his job as a hotel manager, and got approval for land ownership from the Ministry of Environment

According to information gathered by Naturenews, the school was built out of recycled material, walls are made out of thousands of recycled beer bottles, the tables are supported by old motorcycle wheels, the seats are coconut tree logs and even the school sign outside is crafted from old car tires.

“I use waste to build the school because there’s plenty of it everywhere, it’s easy to find and inexpensive”, he told DW. “But more importantly, I want to educate my students about trash and how recycling it can help the environment.”

Coconut School, which accommodates more than 200 children and five volunteer teachers, consists of two main buildings. One is the English classroom and another is the library which is also the computer room.

The Most Amazing Feature

Eighty per cent of the trash used to build the school comes from the students themselves they do not pay a penny to learn, they exchange such fees with trash every month.

“They are poor they don’t have much money to pay, they have to bring garbage every month for school fees.

“Other people see trash as useless, but for my students, it’s their school fee and what their school is made of,” Vandy said. “When they can see the benefits, they will learn from this young age not to throw their trash on the streets.”

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