Double Win for Recycling Project

Helping their less fortunate classmates while saving the planet

Issue: Feb 2010

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The joy of recycling and helping their needy peers are evident in the faces at Dazhong Primary School

Twelve-year-old Lim Zhi Qi, is happy to receive a bursary this year. “In the next year, if I need any stationery, assessment or reference books, the vouchers will come in handy,” he said. “When I pass my examinations with flying colours and on special occasions (my birthday), I will be able to reward myself with storybooks that I want with the vouchers.”

Zhi Qi, who is from Bedok Green Primary School, is one of the 3,206 students who will be receiving a bursary this February from CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, thanks to the Group’s “Green for Hope” project. Through this initiative, 154 primary schools helped to collect recycleable waste to raise funds for underprivileged students. For every 100 kilogram of recyclable waste they collected, CapitaLand Hope Foundation would donate a bursary worth S$280 to help meet the basic needs of their needy pupils.

Between July and December 2009, the schools collected a total of 380,000 kilogrammes of recyclable waste. That is equivalent to raising S$900,000 or 3,206 bursaries in the form of stationery vouchers.

Furthermore, CapitaLand Hope Foundation will donate an additional S$5,000, S$3,000 and S$2,000 respectively, to the three highest scoring schools – even though each school’s donations are capped at S$10,000 for the entire campaign.

“The funds come in very handy especially during this financial downturn. We do have a significant number of needy pupils in our school and it will really help a lot,” said Mrs Tan Jee Looi, environment education advisor at Bedok Green Primary School.

Bedok Green Primary School
Bedok Green Primary School gave out bursaries to needy students with the funds raised from their participation in the “Green for Hope” project in 2008

When the “Green for Hope” project first started in 2008, the money raised from recyclable waste collected went to the school’s welfare fund. The schools would then use the funds to purchase vouchers or other schooling necessities for needy students. One of the schools Dazhong Primary for example, used the money to buy uniforms, textbooks as well as provide breakfast coupons and pocket money for needy students, while Bedok Green Primary gave out bursaries and scholarship awards in the form of stationery vouchers to needy students.

The strong support from the primary schools led to the running of the project for a second year. This time, CapitaLand gave out Green for Hope bursaries for needy students of each school based on the amount of recyclable waste the school collected.

“The campaign has raised awareness among the pupils on caring for their less fortunate peers. Having this awareness will inculcate a caring and sharing culture in the school which is what the school wants to cultivate in our pupils,” said Miss Emmeline Yu, the teacher in charge of environmental programmes at Dazhong Primary School.

Getting down to it

Students sorting out the recyclables in an effort to raise as much bursary money for their needy friends
Students sorting out the recyclables in an effort to raise as much bursary money for their needy friends
Environment corner at Dazhong Primary to raise awareness about recycling
Environment corner at Dazhong Primary to raise awareness about recycling
In order to engage the students in this project effectively, schools employed a variety of methods. Bedok Green Primary School appointed “Green monitors” in each class in order that the students would take up ownership of the project. Every class had a box for collecting recycled paper and when the box was full, the “Green monitors” would take charge of tabulating the amount of paper collected and emptying the boxes into the huge recycling bins at the Recycling Corner. Competitions were also organized among the classes to motivate the students to outdo each other in being green.

Da Zhong Primary inculcated the green message in the students by setting up an easily accessible environment corner made of recyclable material to post educational materials about recycling and Green for Hope posters.

Through this project, teachers found that their pupils are now more aware of their role in helping to fight climate change and save the environment.

“I could see the pupils making an effort in reducing the amount of waste that they throw away and putting them especially papers and plastic bottles into recycling boxes. This project offered a platform for the Junior Environment Ambassadors in our school to be more active in educating their classmates and younger schoolmates the importance of recycling,” said Yu.

“The students now make conscious efforts to separate their rubbish before throwing them away in the bins ... and they also remind one another to put used paper in recycling bins,” said Tan.

Families play their part

Besides being enabled to help the less privileged, the “Green for Hope” project also provided a positive boost to primary students wanting to do their part not only in school but also at home to save the planet.

“Through my efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, I have made the world a better place as I have contributed to the global movement to reduce damages to Mother Earth,” he said. “By reducing the amount of rubbish, less land would be needed to contain the rubbish, thus allowing more land to be available for further land development when required.”

Zhi Qi also discovered that the project impacted his life at home as well.

“The biggest challenge I faced in this project was getting my family members to believe in recycling,” he explained, “They told me not to waste my time on this project as it was ridiculous.

“I tried to persuade them to recycle the newspapers by telling them the situation of the Earth, global warming and green house effects on our home… Finally, I managed to convince my family and they promised that they would start to use the 3Rs,” he added.

Today, Zhi Qi’s family buys refill packs instead of plastic bottles for detergent and shower foam. Not only have they reduced their use of tissue paper, they now use recycled water whenever they can – for instance, using water from their washing machine to wash the toilet.

11-year-old Kelly Chan of Dazhong Primary School also found that this project has helped her to stay green at home.

“I try my best to use less electricity by using the computer less often. I also bring the recyclables from my home to recycle in school,” she said.

“It is a very meaningful project - being socially responsible. We look forward to more of such meaningful projects,” said Tan.

Through this project, many primary students across Singapore gained the satisfaction of knowing they are pivotal in keeping the planet green and in offering hope to their less fortunate school mates – a win-win indeed.

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