Shagara At School
Shagara first implemented the Shagara At School project back in 2013 in a school in Qalyubia. It was a great success. Students took part in planting the roof of their school and Technical University Berlin from Germany and the World Economic Forum visited the school.
After that, the idea of a Green roof classroom came about as a natural consequence. When Shagara donated another green roof to the school in 2017, students and teachers alike started putting up benches and having their classes in the midst of all the greenery and fresh air.
That’s when Shagara developed the idea of the Greenroof classroom and it was a solution to many severe problems facing Egypt.
To start with, Public education in Egypt needs a lot of work. School classrooms are seriously overcrowded; hundreds of students fill rooms that are designed to accommodate a maximum of 30. This makes the learning process extra challenging for both teachers and students. The reason for this is that there aren’t enough spaces in areas most in need of functional schools. Because of this problem, the quality of public education is significantly low. Many students don’t attend, and there are rarely any extra-curricular activities that could allow students to truly get the best out of the educational experience.
Green Roof Classrooms: Where Creativity Blossoms!
The Green roof classroom isn’t only a practical solution to this problem, it’s also a green solution. Instead of going the conventional route and increasing the number of buildings and classrooms, Shagara proposed utilizing spaces not conventionally seen as optimal for the learning experience. For them, school rooftops were the perfect neglected asset that they could use to create an even better learning environment than a typical classroom.
Because green roof classrooms are outdoors, the space can accommodate more students and so alleviate the problems associated with overcrowdedness. Also, because green rooftops are well, green, students will get to learn in an appealing environment that naturally reduces stress. In fact, being in a natural environment is often referred to as getting some vitamin N (for nature).
Outdoor classrooms are particularly relevant in this pandemic day and age for their potential to reduce virus transmission, giving students a proper school experience.
The Grass is Always Greener in the Classroom
Shagara isn’t only focused on the benefit this project will provide for the students, it’s good for Earth too. The plants purify the air and act as a carbon sink. The setting up process utilizes recycled plastic and aims to have the least possible carbon footprint. Furthermore, solar panels will be used as sheds to generate electricity. Thus, the project is all about sustainability.
We can already see that its rewards are being reaped. The Shagara At School project is still running at the Qalubiya school. Not only that, the school started an upcycling program that turns plastic bottles into planters.
The first green roof classroom was set up in 2019. IKEA co-designed it with Shagara. Along with the classroom space, it also includes a space for gardening activities. IKEA isn’t the only partnership Shagara’s had though; The Swedish Embassy, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Environment, and Oriflame have all contributed to the project.
In 2020, Shagara received the Tanmya award for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Egypt from the Ministry of Planning, Environment, and Youth, as well as the EU delegation.
The initiative employed the award in designing new projects; one of them for revamping an orphanage. Knowing that project helps in the fight against Covid-19, Astrazeneca collaborated with them on implementing one of their designs. Shagara plans to install 36 green-roof classrooms in 7 schools. With such a promising initiative, the grass will surely be greener in the future.