Plastic input for praiseworthy project

Merrifield does its bit for Hogsback’s mission to ‘turn problems around’

Merrifield made 411 ecobricks for the Jikani Community Project’s construction of a reading room
Merrifield made 411 ecobricks for the Jikani Community Project’s construction of a reading room
Image: Supplied

Shortly before the school holidays, Merrifield Prep and College gave 411 ecobricks to the Jikani community project – but first they used the plastic-filled bricks to construct an image on their school field to promote awareness on ocean pollution.

The project, located in Hogsback, will use the ecobricks to enclose a reading room space.

“Jikani means to ‘turn around’ and that’s what we are trying to do – turn around the problems within our community,” said Jikani chair Norma Fivaz, who attended the handover ceremony at Merrifield in East London.

Targeting schoolchildren and unemployed members of the Hogsback community, the project has established a skills development centre and an employment bureau to connect jobseekers and employers.

“We’re grateful to Merrifield for so many ecobricks and we’re hoping this reading room will help people improve their literacy and English skills,” said Fivaz.

The handover saw the Merrifield Grade 7s work together with Grade 11 art pupils Alex Murray and Connor Olivier to create the image the two older pupils designed. A huge wave of ecobricks and the letters “SOS”, which stands for “Save Our Seas” was visible from the sky.

“It was a ‘goosebumps’ moment seeing all those ecobricks filled with plastic waste on the field. All that plastic could have ended up in the ocean,” said Merrifield teacher and head of the Eco-Club Chay Bachar.

The Merrifield ecobrick initiative was started by the Eco-Club in 2017, but Bachar said that in no time the entire school became involved.

“This wave they created emphasised the wave of rubbish that impacts negatively on the planet. It was very impressive,” said Fivaz. “The learners were all so excited to be part of this ecobrick project. Not only is it doing wonders for our centre, it’s also helping reduce plastic waste on our planet.”

To date Jikana has received 4000 ecobricks from Hogsback locals, surrounding communities and schools such as Stirling Primary in East London and Yellowwood Primary near Adelaide.

“We’ve started building one portion of the reading room and we’re hoping to finish it up in the next couple of months. We’re really excited to create a love of books within the community,” said Fivaz.

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