Through building safe and secure classrooms we know we can make a real and lasting difference to children’s lives. Lessons in classrooms, rather than under trees, can mean that children are more likely to attend school, and more likely to stay in school, leaving with the skills they need to improve their futures.
We are always looking at improving our work, and recently we partnered with a London architect’s charitable foundation, the Richard Feilden Foundation, to find out if we could build better, and more environmentally-friendly, classrooms.
Traditionally, bricks have to be fired and the wood used to fire kilns means native trees are chopped down. The Richard Feilden Foundation suggested we trial a new type of block which is a low-cost, carbon-saving alternative.
These blocks are made by mixing local clay with a small amount of cement and sand and then compacted into a dry press. Since they aren’t fired, no trees are chopped down to fuel brick kilns and C02 emissions are also drastically reduced.
The first building using this new method also includes some great features to aid learning. The ceiling is higher, allowing for better air circulation and a more comfortable learning environment. Air bricks are used to allow for better ventilation. And the building is orientated East to West to control the impact of the high sun on the roof.
"I think the new classroom will increase attendance and benefit the sutdents in so many ways. The ventilation will help the children because they won't feel much heat.
We are hoping that by putting the younger ones in the new classroom we will reduce the absenteeism and they will want to come to school.
Education is very important because it can improve the life of the students. If you educate somebody their life will be simple because they can earn money.” John, Head teacher, Ngora District, Uganda