Bamboo School

The name is almost self-explanatory: build a bamboo school! But where? And why?

The answers to these questions are what make Bamboo School a special project. It all started when the journalist Vinícius Zanotti traveled to Liberia in West Africa, in 2010. He planned to stay only 15 days but contracted malaria and had to stay longer. The disease became an opportunity to meet, he said, “one of the most amazing people who I have ever met: Sabato Neufville!”

To better understand the situation, here are some facts from the country in which Sabato lives:
- Population of 4 Million
- HDI of 0.329, one of the lowest in the world
- Life expectancy of 45 years
- Infant mortality of 132 children for every thousand births

Sabato, 34, is the organizer of a movement against violence and child abuse, the “United Youth Movement Against Violence.” The purpose of the organization is to educate teenagers and to prevent them from becoming part of child abuse statistics. Don’t forget that Liberia has gone through 14 years of civil war, and during that time many of the soldiers were children.

With a salary of $800 per month, Sabato has supported 9 children who were orphaned by the war, he has funded cultural activities in two different neighborhoods and has even built a school and pays the teachers’ salaries from his own profit so that 300 children from the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia, have access to education.

Sabato’s story inspired Vinícius. During his time in Liberia he recorded a documentary. Once that was finished, he started a project to build a school that had the basic teaching conditions that all children needed. The architect and friend André Dal’Bó designed the school project, envisioning the use of bamboo as a structural element and using techniques available in Liberia to seal the school; Bioconstructor Peetssa created a power generator made with broken magnets from HDs and bicycle wheels to solve the power problem by using a clean and renewable alternative.

The project is in the process of fundraising and that’s where you can help. Today the School of Bamboo sells the documentary, pens and t-shirts to raise funds. Also you can donate more and understand the project by visiting the site.

The Bamboo School Project is a major initiative because it not only deals with an urgent problem, but also because it is an example of collaboration and exchange of technology that developed countries can use to support others in need. It excites me to see that a group of people has perceived education in Liberia as their own problem.