Discover the inspiring stories of individuals whose lives have been transformed through the educational initiatives of Classroom of Hope, and learn how you can be a part of this impactful journey as we move forward into a new and exciting next chapter.
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
We know this quote gets repeated a lot, but we truly believe that education is a powerful force with the ability to transform lives and shape the future. Education is a pathway to opportunity; a tool to reduce poverty, combat gender inequality, promote sustainable development, and a fundamental right (or, at least it should be) that can break the cycle of poverty and empower generations to come!
Research consistently shows that more education = higher earning potentials, better health outcomes, and increased community participation. Every additional year of schooling can increase an individual’s future earnings by an average of 10%.1 That statistic is even higher for young women, for whom an education also makes them more likely to marry later, have fewer children, and be better informed on the nutritional needs and health of their children.
And yet… for many children around the world, access to quality education remains a distant dream. Globally, 121 million primary and lower secondary school-aged kids don’t have access to education.2 Even worse, an estimated 230 million primary-school-aged kids can’t read, write, or do basic math.3 These barriers to accessing quality education are highest in conflict-prone and rural areas, and they disproportionately affect young females.
That’s where Classroom of Hope comes in! Since our founding in 2012, our organisation has had one primary mission: To help children realise their greatness through life-changing education. While our projects, partnerships, and locations have grown and shifted over the past 10 (almost 11!) years, Classroom of Hope remains committed to funding projects to bridge the gaps in education, opportunity, and access for children across the world.
The Story of Classroom of Hope
It’s crazy to us to think that our story began more than a decade ago, in 2012, when Classroom of Hope’s founder Duncan Ward went on a journey of self-discovery and found inspiration in the form of Racky, an remarkably brave young Cambodian man dedicated to improving the lives and educations of youth in his community.
In the years since Duncan’s original promise to Racky to help him fund his incredible mission, our organisation has grown in a way that we can hardly believe. From launching our original “Schools for Excellence” program on October 24, 2012, to help Racky build child-friendly schools in Cambodia, Classroom of Hope has since expanded to support a variety of impactful projects – building schools in 5 countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Rwanda, and Indonesia), supporting STEM4Women scholarships for students in Thailand and Cambodia, funding the construction of disaster-relief temporary school buildings after the 2018 earthquakes devastated Lombok, Indonesia, and even working with local partners during the COVID-19 pandemic to bring emergency food and water to communities in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia.
We couldn’t be more proud of this diversity of projects that we share with our local NGO partners – all with the underlying mission of increasing equal access to a safe, quality, and supportive education for children.
Which brings us to…
Block Schools and Homes
Born out of a desire to provide Lombok’s students with permanent earthquake-resistant learning structures (you can read more on that here), we formed an incredible partnership with Block Solutions, a groundbreaking company that developed environmentally-friendly building blocks made from recycled plastic!
This sustainable and innovative building technology is truly a win-win (and more). The Block Schools and Homes that we’ve built with these Blocks are:
- Much faster to build with: Rather than building a brick-and-mortar school over three to six months, we can build a five-classroom school in a matter of weeks.
- Much easier to build with: After training just one local construction team to build with Blocks, it was easy to scale up our production by training four more teams in just one week, given that building with these Blocks is quick to learn – like building with adult Lego!
- Earthquake-resistant and sustainable long-term: Due to their elasticity and lightweight structure, these modules are designed for earthquake resistance and safety. Even better – they’re long-lasting – built to last 50 to 100 years.
- Environmentally sustainable: Every classroom built with this technology recycles 1 to 2 tonnes of plastic waste that otherwise pollutes our oceans, rivers, and landfills.
What a game-changer this shift has been for us! Since the first Block School was constructed in the summer of 2021, we feel like the impact that Classroom of Hope can make has absolutely skyrocketed!
Whereas previously, we’d be lucky to support the funding and construction of a few schools a year across our multiple NGO partners, our local partner in Lombok (Yayasan Classroom of Hope Indonesia) has built 11 Block Schools (soon to be 15!) and four Block Homes in under two years.
That’s why, while the idea of building 200 schools (and eventually, 4000 homes) in Lombok would have seemed completely unreachable in the past, that is Classroom of Hope’s goal over the next several years.
As another exciting development, we’re thrilled to share that a brand new Block Solutions Factory will soon open in Lombok – the first in all of Asia Pacific – to produce these recycled plastic blocks from Indonesia’s own plastic waste. Since Indonesia is the second largest plastic polluter in the world, this is a huge deal both locally and globally, and we cannot wait for this factory to become operational – in just a couple more weeks!
Thank You for Helping Classroom of Hope Change Lives
Over the past (nearly) 11 years, we have been so incredibly lucky for the support of our community (that’s you!) as we have shifted, adjusted, and grown with the times.
At the time we’re writing up this blog, in June 2023, our impact numbers truly show the diversity of our projects over the past decade.
- 27557 Students Impacted
- 97 Schools Developed
- 4 Homes Built
- 1118 Scholarships
- 319 Classrooms
- 145 Toilets Constructed
- 18 Water Facilities
- 26 Playgrounds
- 30 Bicycles Donated
- 46.53 Tonnes of Plastic Recycled
- 78 Tonnes of Carbon Saved
We want you to know that Classroom of Hope will always be first and foremost focused on the same mission that we’ve always had – to improve lives by increasing access to good quality education for all. We couldn’t be more proud and more grateful for your support as we transition into this new era of our organisation, as we continue to support our underlying mission of improving access to education – while also tackling environmental challenges by repurposing plastic waste for the construction of eco-friendly schools and homes!
Together, we’re building a brighter future for education and our planet.
Thank you for being a part of our journey.