By Eleanor P-S, Grade 12 Student the International School of Zug and Luzern
During the first week of the summer break, a group of ISZL students, teachers and parents learnt a pioneering new building technique to help impoverished communities in Ghana. The new construction technique is based on PET bottle ‘bricks’, and Andreas Froese, the innovator of this building technique, flew in from Mexico to teach our group and assist with the building of Europe’s first PET bottle cistern, now on display now at ISZL’s Riverside Campus. This project has been part of the preparation for our Personal Development Week (PDW) in September when we will be working at the Kokrobite Chiltern Centre in Ghana, a foundation that provides education for local children and support for their families.
Thanks to fundraising efforts by our group, Andreas has flown to Ghana where he has been training our partners in the village of Kokrobite to build a new school out of his PET-bottle bricks. Our group was only able to pay for four weeks of Andreas’ time, but he was kind and passionate enough to donate three additional weeks to the project. Construction of the first classroom will be completed about the same time our PDW group arrives on September 15th to help put on the roof.
Once complete, we hope this classroom becomes a focal point for community education about this new cost-effective construction technique that can be used to build just about anything. Our goal is to train and fund local “PET bricklayers” to build not only a larger school, but also an integrated system of rainwater cisterns that can provide safe drinking water in the dry season. Contaminated water is the single largest cause of death, illness, and missed school days for children in this village of 8000 people. Young women particularly carry the burden of sourcing clean water in the dry season.
If you would like to help employ some of our new PET-bottle brick layers as they start construction of the first cisterns and a second classroom in October, we know our partners in Ghana would greatly appreciate your help. A new cistern, which provides water for a family of 6 costs approximately CHF 300, and each new classroom costs approximately CHF 6000, including materials and labor. Even small donations, when combined, can have a BIG impact.
For information about how to help, please contact our staff trip leader, Christopher Koch christopher.koch(at)iszl.ch.