Hug It Forward doesn’t build bottle schools: communities do. We are facilitators, giving them the tools to do what they know how to do. We try to be learners more than teachers, listeners more than talkers. We believe in community, we believe in the power of people coming together to create a better world.
Bottle Schools are built on 100% community volunteer effort, from elders and children stuffing bottles, to men and teenagers mixing cement and learning new skills. All unskilled labor is donated by the community; all skilled labor is hired from within the community. Funding only begins when all the bottles needed are collected and stuffed with inorganic trash. The community comes together to learn about the impact of inorganic trash, clean their environment and work together to build more sustainable educational infrastructure for their future.
Everybody participates in building a bottle school. The entire community has ownership because they build the bottle school with their own hands. Kids of all ages will be able to say something that no child in a developed country can say: “I built my school.”
Hug It Forward nurtures strong partnerships with the local municipality and the Ministry of Education, to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the bottle school. The municipality pays for the majority of all skilled labor required in the construction of the school. The Ministry of Education guarantees to provide and pay teachers.
Environmental education is a key part of preparing to build a bottle school, and it means that the local environment remains free of trash in the long term, by educating children about the difference between organic and inorganic trash.
We believe in teaching people how to fish, not giving them fish. The skills learned by the community in the process of building a bottle school and the confidence and pride gained can then be applied to future construction and community development projects.
We don’t have all the answers. We consistently reflect on our own practice, seek advice from all corners, own our mistakes and seek to improve constantly.
We are led by our values in everything that we do.