Sponsoring earthquake-resistant schools

I’m so proud to have led a team of women who raised £28,000 to sponsor the 2nd earth-quake school in the world built of recycled plastic blocks. 

Evolving with nature

Having had the incredible experience of leading a team who sponsored a school in Cambodia in 2019, I decided to sponsor another school with the same charity, Classroom of Hope. 

Thanks to Covid, our Lombok project ended up taking eighteen months longer than anticipated but this extra time gave the project time to grow and evolve in ways we could never have imagined. 

The school we sponsored is part of a revolutionary project that will help rid the planet of plastic waste and revolutionalise the way schools and buildings are built around the world – especially in countries that experience natural disasters, and are keen to minimise their environmental footprint or want to provide cheaper and more sustainable homes.

One of the most incredible aspects is that the technology is that schools are constructed locally in only a few days as you can see in the time-lapse video below. 

Already it is inspired many governments and companies to get in touch to find out more. 

Keep reading to find out more about this innovative project, the school, and our impact. 

Why did we sponsor a school in Lombok?

In 2018, more than 500 people were killed, thousands of families were left homeless, and over 400 schools were destroyed when a series of earthquakes struck the Indonesian island of Lombok (a small island east of Bali).

Since then our charity partner, Classroom of Hope, has been helping the island recover by building new schools. But thousands of children are still out of school because Lombok has had little overseas humanitarian aid. 

Where is the school?

Dusun Sira, Sigar Penjalin, Tanjung, North West Lombok (a small island east of Bali). 

Pictures of the school before the rebuild

We will share images and film footage of the school once it’s built. In the meantime here are a couple of images of the school currently:

Image and school report supplied by Pelita Foundation Lombok

Check out the exact location and see it for yourself on Google Maps here – 8° 22.4592′ S, 116° 6.7158′ E

Watch the new school being built in only 4 days

How many pupils are at the school?

276 (138 boys and 138 girls). One of the things we were keen to ensure was that girls would be equally represented at the school we sponsored. There are also 15 teachers (8 male and 7 female). 

What makes this school unique?

We are part of a project run by the charity Classroom of Hope, which has been commissioned by local authorities to rebuild the schools destroyed in the earthquakes.

Rather than using traditional materials, they’ve come up with a solution that tackles the huge problem Indonesia faces with plastic pollution and will provide local jobs for decades to come.

By turning plastic waste into a valuable resource they are building the first schools in the World built using recycled plastic blocks. These enable each classroom to be built in only a few hours. Whole schools can be built in only a few days.

The blocks are currently being manufactured by a Finnish company Block Solutions although a factory is being built in Lombok in 2022 to produce materials locally. It’s the production of blocks in Indonesia that will enable the country to tackle their plastic pollution, create local jobs, and significantly reduce school build costs even further. 

Our school will be the second school in the world built using this technology.

Already this project has inspired many more countries across Asia to explore how to do the same. 

Why do we need to raise funds for the schools?

There was little international aid given to Lombok to support their recovery after the earthquakes. While Classroom of Hope has contract to build the schools, they are not being paid to build the schools and need to raise the funds to do this.

That’s why I volunteered to help. I’ve committed to raising the £28,000 required to sponsor a school. 

How did we raise the funds?

Despite Covid, ten wonderful women joined me in pledging to raise at least £2,000 for the school.

We’ve also had some other generous people who kindly raised funds and supported our campaign. 

There have been many ways we’ve raised the funds including running fundraising events (e.g. yoga classes, workshops, and networking events), selling fundraising products (gorgeous candles and silver rings), offering services to clients for donations, an online fundraising auction, and inviting donations from our fundraising pages. 

Sponsor homes or schools with Classroom of Hope

Our fundraising efforts have now finished although there are still a lot of schools and homes waiting to be rebuilt in Lombok through Classroom of Hope

Who are our partners?

Selecting brilliant capable partners critical to delivering a project like this. 

Our main charity partner is Classroom of Hope. They are an incredible charity that I have worked with for the last four years. Here’s a photo of me meeting the founder Duncan Ward with his wife Nicola Courtin when I was in Bali in 2019. I lead a team that sponsored their 50th school in Cambodia and I’m delighted to be partnering with them again in this project. 

The UK charity Acts of Kindness Collective – has been a wonderfully supportive funding partner through this and my previous school fundraising project. 

In December, Work for Good, an organisation that helps businesses raise funds for charities in the UK, ran a pre-Christmas promotion pledging to match donations made through their platform up to a certain value. It was great timing and because most of us run our own businesses we were fortunate to receive match funding of £4,000. 

Our Impact

My mission is to have a positive impact on the lives of 100,000+ people by making it easy for women over forty to have more impact in the world and through the charitable work, I do. 

Many lives will benefit from building this school, not just for those in Lombok but also for those of us involved in the project:

The total impact of us building the school cannot ever be fully established but we know it includes the impact of having provided:

  • A safe child-friendly primary school for an estimated 276 pupils each year for decades to come (the life expectancy of the school is linked to the durability of plastic which can be hundreds of years).
  • Increased health and prosperity for all the school pupils plus everyone in the community for generations. 
  • Jobs for construction workers – locals who are being trained up to build all the schools for the project and future developments. 
  • Jobs for many more – the project includes building a factory on Lombok to produce blocks locally (for this project and future island developments). This will provide jobs both in the factory and in the collection of plastic waste around Indonesia. 
  • Clearer oceans – and the remedial impact this will have on life in the ocean.

Plus of course, through being part of the pilot project, we’ve been instrumental in a project that has now expanded way beyond our initial hopes and aspirations – changing lives across the whole of Asia. 

Related blogs I’ve written:

  • Project Lombok: Steps We’re Taking to Avoid Being White Saviours – read <HERE>
  • Let’s Stop Being White Saviours – read <HERE>.
  • What’s Wrong with Volunteering Overseas – read <HERE>
The Meaningful Life Guide, Best-Selling Author, and Founder of Women Over 40 Rocking the World

Often described as one of the most authentic and inspiring souls you can meet, Alisoun is on a mission to improve the lives of 100,000 people–by making it easier for women over forty to feel good, enjoy a meaningful life, and have more impact in the world.

Alisoun’s keynote talks, training, mentoring, and best-selling books Give-to-Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities and Social Causes and Heartatude: The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success have favorably changed the good fortune of thousands of people worldwide. She loves helping others, fundraising, and enjoying a quiet life by the beach in Scotland.

Alisoun is has written the following free resources:

  • Ebook: 101+ Ways to Create a Joyful Life of Meaning, Vitality, and Impact Over 40 (click here)
  • Ebook: 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business (click here)
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