We, Aakriti and Anushka, are 8th graders from New Jersey and have been friends ever since we can remember. Swimming, camping, travel, dance, and movies are some of our passions. We are grateful for the many opportunities in life and strongly believe that education can change lives. Education should be a right, not a privilege and every child should have access to education. After our experience with Hug It Forward, we are committed to making education accessible to as many children as possible and our first step was to help fund a bottle school classroom in Guatemala.
Our experience in Guatemala:
In June 2018, we went on a bottle school trip with Hug It Forward to a small community called El Rosario Canajal, 19 kms from San Martin Jilotepeque. El Rosario Canajal is a 100% indigenous community with minimal permanent building structures and no plumbing or sewer system. Almost 80% of these communities live below the poverty line and their primary source of income is from farming. They grow their own coffee, corn, beans and vegetables, but the income is usually not enough to provide even the basic needs of a family of 4.
It was devastating to learn that only 10% of the children go to high school and that most girls only get 2 years of education. El Rosario Canajal only had an elementary school and we went there to help them build a secondary school building for their community. During our trip, we mixed concrete and laid down the floors for 3 classrooms. It was definitely hard work, but the determination and motivation we saw in the children kept us going. Having access to education really meant a lot to them and it was inspiring to see how hard they were willing to work to make it happen. We made many new friends and learned a lot about them, their struggles and their culture. These schools are not only providing the children with a place to learn but are helping them make better lives for themselves and their future generations. We hope to be able to help these communities by spreading the word and raising funds to build more schools that these communities desperately need.
Facts about Bottle Schools:
• Bottle schools are built using ‘Eco Bricks’ which are plastic soda bottles stuffed with inorganic trash.
• It takes 2 hours to stuff each bottle and about 10,000 bottles to build 1 school consisting of three classrooms.
• The community has to provide at least 80% of the eco bricks to show their commitment before they can get funding from Hug It Forward and move forward with the project.
• Hug It Forward provides funding for all the materials and skilled labor, but all the building work is done manually by the men, women and children of the community.
• It costs $7,000 for the materials to build 1 bottle school classroom.
• Building bottle schools not only helps clean the communities but also teaches them environmental awareness, recycling and proper trash management.
• It helps bond communities, fosters leadership and teaches the children ownership because they build their school with their own hands.
If you would like to support us, please follow these steps:
1. Write a check in the amount you’d like to donate and make the check payable to “Hug It Forward”. Please make sure you state in the memo line of the check: “Aakriti and Anushka’s Bottle school classroom”.
Mail the check to Hug It Forward at:
Hug It Forward
4600 Hampshire Dr.
Flower Mound, TX 75028
2. You can make your donation through PayPal by clicking the button below. If you choose this option, please make sure to provide a note in PayPal that your donation is for the “Aakriti and Anushka’s Bottle school classroom”.
Important Note: Hug It Forward is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization in the USA and your donation is tax deductible. Once the checks have been received by Hug It Forward, they will email a tax deductible receipt to you. If you send a check, please make sure you include an email address so we can email the receipt to you. Thank you!