For most people in the West, the idea of children learning under trees, while exposed to the elements appears rather remote. However, it is one of the realities that learners in Africa and other underdeveloped parts of the world face on a daily basis. Not only do these youngsters have to walk long distances; sometimes of up to 10 kilometers, to get to school, but most of the time, when they get there, there are no classrooms, libraries and all the other facilities that are taken for granted in developed parts of the world.
A Solution: Shipping Container Schools
A solution to this problem involves the transformation of used shipping containers into schools. We have previously written an article in which we chronicle a few amazing facts behind these amazing workhorses of the modern age. Needless to say here that shipping containers are notable for their versatility and the ease with which they can be transformed into a wide range of things.
Why shipping containers are ideal
Shipping container schools are a solution to the problems that Africa and other parts of the globe face when trying to come up with the infrastructure that is needed in order to give children a decent learning environment. There are a number of reasons why these metallic husks come in handy in this regard;
- They can easily be converted
- They are widely available
- They are sturdy and can withstand the elements
Where have these projects been carried out?
South Africa and Malawi are examples of countries where classrooms that are made from converted shipping containers have had a huge impact on the lives of learners. A number of companies in South Africa have developed the expertise that is needed to convert shipping containers into schools. Big Box Containers, as an example, can turn containers into computer centers, libraries or ablution facilities.
Part of the effort to bridge the Information Technology gap that exists between schools in the West and in African involves the introduction of computers in schools at an early age. Charity group, Close the Gap, has been at the forefront of this effort, and has partnered with recycling company, Arrow, to turn used shipping containers into high tech I.T learning centers.
The 40ft shipping containers are equipped with remodeled computers and are being used in schools in Tanzania. The great thing about these container I.T hubs is that they are solar powered, which is essential in parts of Africa that do not have access to the electricity grid.
A truly Great Life
Shipping container schools are, without doubt, one of the solutions to the problem of access to infrastructure that exists across Africa. One of the major challenges, however, is the fact that shipping containers remain relatively overpriced to be a solution for poor parts of the African continent. A single shipping container costs between $1400 and $5000, and the projects that we have looked at in this article have largely relied on donor funding. So, what idea do you for shipping containers? Do you wish to donate a shipping container to a school in Africa? Leave a comment below and get in touch for more details.