Times of Oman

“I want to tell everyone that there’s nothing that you need to throw away. Everything is useful,” said Thikra, a 15-year-old student from Al Wasel School in Bidiya, Northern Al Sharqiyah. Thikra was part of teams formed in the all-girls school, which worked to re-purpose trash gathered by the local municipality and turn it into an outdoor garden in her local school. “It was hard work,” she said to Times of Oman. “But when you think about it, nothing is really hard when you work together as a team. We painted, stacked, and made these pieces of furniture for our school.”

This was a joint effort from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in coordination with Bidiya Municipality and the school. However, a big part of the work was done by the students themselves, and the work is there to stay.

Sheikha Al Hajriya, activities specialist at the school, said, “Of course we’ll continue to use this garden, and we are thinking about improving on it, maybe adding some covers or other pieces. Eventually, maybe we can even hold teaching events in the outdoor area to improve learning abilities. When the idea came to us and we decided to work for the environment, we decided to do it so that absolutely everything could be used. The municipality provided the trash, or ingredients as we could also call them. There was a massive amount of effort from everyone involved, and the Al Wasel team showed us what they could make from the leftover wool. They made medals and trinkets,” she added.

Amal Al Hajriya, who works at the municipality, said, “We wanted an idea that could impress and also send the message that trash is useful and shouldn’t be thrown away.”

According to her, this is a much-needed lesson. “Everything was cheap to make. We used leftover furniture that people had just discarded, as well as car tyres provided by the municipality. We were honestly impressed by what we saw.”

Thikra agrees. “The mothers were happy to see what we had made, and they started thinking about how they could also do the same thing. They also told us that if we were this driven, we could do anything.”

Sheikha added, “I had so many mothers come to me and ask me how a particular piece was made. They wanted to be able to do the same thing outside their homes, or to take the idea and apply it to indoor gardens in their houses.”

Thikra said, “If we could have the same type of cooperation from the students or people in the village, I would love to start the same kind of project in my neighbourhood.”