It is an art project with a beautiful result, but as with all things involving the concerted efforts of professional teachers, it is so much more.
Using the lessons learned in trade union workshops on the need to protect the environment and recycle materials, María Jesús Gutiérrez, a pre-school teacher from Estelí, a town in Nicaragua, set herself the task of collecting plastic bottle lids with her students with the aim of creating a mural for the trade union building.”
Then, together with other teachers – Marlene Valenzuela, a secondary school mathematics teacher, Caridad Urrutia, an English teacher, and Guadalupe Meneses, a fifth-year primary school teacher – María started collecting pieces of coloured glass and oil cloth.
Convinced that the most important changes are achieved through collective action, the teachers sought the support of colleagues working full time at the trade union headquarters. In collaboration, they began to sketch the outline of the mural, then filled it in using recyclable materials.
The project took three months, because after a lengthy process of collecting material and designing, they had to work on the mural during their free time in the evenings and at weekends.
The finished mural represents a tree that grows from a seed until it becomes a leafy tree, under whose branches is written the word, “ANDEN” (Go for it!) – the word is drawn to look as though it were written by a child with the help of her teacher.
These teachers have also made a sofa out of car tyres, vases out of worn-out fans, and figures in Styrofoam. They also hold recycling workshops for teachers, showing them how to use recyclable materials as a teaching aid.
Through collective determination and hard work, these teachers not only gave new life to discarded materials, but further defined the relationship between quality education and quality of life.
Image credit: lindberghschoolartspace.wikispaces.com