Sixth grade students of the Chittagong Grammar School, Dhaka (CGSD) participated in Arch.KIDS: an outreach program of the Department of Architecture, BRAC University on February 11, 2016. The program initiated with the idea of creating awareness among the future generation about our environment and the built environment. The latest session Reuse Recycle Reinvent had an intention to focus on the waste children generate in their everyday life as a city dweller, and make them aware about recycling and reusing the materials they usually throw away in innovative ways.
Prior to the workshop, the children of CGSD received a recycled paper bag sponsored by Jatra, to collect dry waste for three days. On Monday morning 28 students arrived in the department with bags full of paper, boxes, plastic bottles, chocolate wrappers, metal cans. Volunteers, students and young lecturers of the department waiting to welcome them weighted each of the bags and all together there were 10 kg of waste. All of those were piled up in the floor and the perfectly decorated space suddenly became messy….yet the mess looked promising with so many bright minds around.
Dr. Huraera Jabeen, a facilitator of Arch.KIDS and the Assistant Professor of the department welcomed the children to take up a challenge of rethinking waste as a resource and find some innovative ideas using the materials they collected only in three days. Assistant Professor Sheikh Rubaiya Sultana, another facilitator of the workshop, discussed on the amount of waste we, as a city dweller, generate each day; how long each type of material take to decompose to emphasize why we need to reduce, reuse and recycle thinking about the environment.
Children gathered in groups of four, discussed and brain stormed to find ideas looking on to their pile of waste. It took some lively discussions and arguments to arrive at a suggestion that will use different materials from the waste, reuse and recycled to make something functional as well as with aesthetic value. Then the next fun part began, actually making it up. With the help of the volunteers children were cutting materials, attaching with glue, painting for an hour. In the meantime, one or two members from each group were going around negotiating exchange of materials; peeping into the studio class rooms to look for reusable materials left by architecture students.
The final ideas were brilliant: a floating market made out of plastic bottles that will help vendors to continue their business during natural disasters such as flooding or water-logging; a multi-tasking table made out of bottle and egg-crates one can take even in a swimming pool to keep a glass of drink floating while relaxing; a shelf-real made out of cereal box and plastic bottles strengthened with paper to use as a shelf to keep books and files; and ofcourse a desk organizer to arrange pencils, pens and many tiny things while keeping everyone’s mom happy.
Professor Shaheda Rahman, Chairperson of the department enjoyed their presentation of ideas before giving away the certificates. The Arch.KIDS left with inspiration to rethink waste as resources to save the environment.