A Can-Do Plan: Nigerian School Accepts Recyclables as Tuition

Jun 9, 2023

Recycling helps our environment, but did you know it can also help kids go to school? A school in the most populous city in Africa is making it happen. They are finding ways to get kids in the classroom and garbage off the street.   

Lagos, Nigeria , is home to more than 30 million people. Many live in impoverished neighborhoods like Ajegunle. Families there struggle to send their children to local schools because they can’t afford the fees. Kids that do attend often have to walk through dirty alleys choked with trash just to get to class. Yet there is value in much of that debris. This is a fact that families at My Dream Stead school take full advantage of.

My Dream Stead has teamed up with a local group called the African Cleanup Initiative. This school lets parents pay their kids' school fees, which are $130 per year, with recyclable trash. Parents bring bags of recyclable stuff, which is then weighed at the school. The African Cleanup Initiative buys it, processes it, and the money goes into the student's school account. The program has been a big help for families like the Adeosuns. 

"When I discovered that they could collect the plastics from me to keep my child in school, it made my burden lighter," Fatimah Adeosun told Reuters. Her son, Fawas, is a fourth grader at My Dream Stead.

The school's program is doing really well. Their enrollment has hit 120 students. That's up from just seven when it opened in 2019. My Dream Stead is planning to grow and start in a second area. They will keep working with the African Cleanup Initiative there. 

Photo from Reuters. 

Reflect: Who do you think should be responsible for paying for education? Explain.

Based on how it is used in the story, which of the following words would NOT be used to replace “burden” in the fourth paragraph? (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. load
b. weight
c. pressure
d. relief
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