For students of Tshatsi Primary School in Pemagatshel, weekends are for collecting non-biodegradable waste. The waste are recycled and re-used in the school to reduce waste and keep the environment clean.
Teacher Tshering Pelmo, who initiated this move last year, said this was done for students to understand the importance of waste management and to have two separate pits to segregate waste.
The school has formed a club where 13 students from classes V-VI go around the community to segregate and collect waste.
“The students mostly collect PET bottles and rubber slippers called Eva chappal, which are later recycled into products like flower pots,” Tshering Pelmo said. “The students also make decorations, pen holders, and duster boxes out of waste and distribute it to schools.”
Located in a remote village called Tshatsi in Nanong gewog, Tshatsi Primary School is 20km from the gewog centre.
Tshering Pelmo said the students wear slippers instead of shoes, but the slippers are not durable. The club decided that the students would collect old slippers to recycle or reuse.
Students today, including those who aren’t members of the club bring discarded slippers for reuse. The members have also started collecting waste during school programmes.
The club members also go into the community advocating people on waste segregation and management. They help residents construct pits to segregate waste. Each month, they collect about six bags of waste and about two bags of slippers.
“But the biggest challenge is lack of time, as we cannot disturb them during class hours,” the teacher said.
The initiative and the students’ efforts was rewarded when it won the school a trophy and a cash prize of Nu 30,000 in the ‘Design for Change Bhutan -I CAN’ challenge last year. The school received the prizes on January 18.
Design for Change, the world’s largest movement of change – of and by children, is a foundation based in India. DFC is now in more than 60 countries impacting over 2.2 million children and 65,000 teachers including about 121 schools in Bhutan.
The school plans to use the cash prize for DFC project this year. The school has 147 students with eight teachers.
Yangchen C Rinzin