Up-cycling for Hope
“Up-cycling for Hope” aims to raise youth awareness of waste management issues through an art-focused project implemented in 7 public schools in Beirut, and targeted 1233 Lebanese and refugee students between the ages of 7 and 12. It is a project funded by UNHCR and implemented by Red Oak in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
Interactive Awareness Sessions for Art Teachers and Students: “Up-cycling for Hope” project was launched with a 3-day workshop for art teachers, followed by environmental awareness sessions for students and the implementation of 2 main activities – mural art and “trash music” – in parallel with an awareness campaign.
Environmental awareness sessions for students took place in all 7 schools. The sessions included interactive games and videos, which reinforced the communication skills between the students, and especially between Lebanese and Syrian students. The students actively participated in these sessions, which led them to take the initiative to clean their classes and their playgrounds.
Murals: The project allowed students to reflect on environmental issues in a creative way through street art. In this fusion of art and recycling, students learnt to think in a new and innovative way. They collected the “waste” material in a bin in order to construct a large-scale mural that artistically transformed the playground of their school to create a pleasant and joyful environment. They re-imagined their school artistically by joining their efforts in a collective action, interacted together and engaged directly in the creative process. This participatory art drove the project success. Up-cycling is not an individual action, but it takes everyone and all the community.
The “Trash Orchestra:” “Up-cycling for Hope” put together an orchestra of students playing instruments made from materials they brought from home. The students learnt how to create their own instruments from waste. This activity gave children respect for the environment and music. It allowed them to develop new skills and build on their creativity. Trash turned into instruments and music into hope.
“Up-cycling for Hope” launched a School-Wide Awareness Campaign that created a whole-school culture and approach of sustainable practices. This campaign aims to reduce garbage and increase recycling through an ongoing effort and foster environmentally conscious actions relating to the students’ day-to-day lives. These changes in practices flowed through to the teachers and families and the community as a whole.