Together We Build: Classroom of Hope and Block Solutions Unveil a New Era of Sustainable Building in Lombok, Indonesia

Classroom of Hope is incredibly excited to share the news that on Monday, 26 June 2023, our partners at Block Solutions Indonesia officially opened the brand new Block Solutions Lombok Factory – the first of its kind in Asia Pacific! After over three years of communication, partnership, and hard work between Classroom of Hope, Block Solutions, multiple investors, and representatives from the Indonesian, Australian, and Finnish governments, we could not be more thrilled to finally see this milestone achieved.

The Partnership Between Classroom of Hope and Block Solutions: From Dreams to Reality

Over 3 years ago, Classroom of Hope started dreaming of an “Eco-School.” 

We had already been building schools in Southeast Asia for over 8 years at that time, but around the beginning of 2020, we saw an article about schools in Africa being built from recycled plastic waste, and it planted a seed in our founder’s mind. We started researching how we too could start building schools while also removing plastic from the environment.

That journey is what finally led us to Block Solutions, a Finland-based company that was revolutionising low-income housing projects in Africa using their unique recycled plastic block technology. 

Our bond with Block Solutions was immediate. They hadn’t used their technology to build a school yet, but we saw the potential and knew there was no reason it couldn’t be done!

About 18 months later, Classroom of Hope and Block Solutions worked together to build the world’s first Block School using this technology – finishing the main structure of our five-classroom school in just six days.

Drone footage of SDN 4 Taman Sari on Day 2 of building. Photo by Alfred Minnaar
SDN 4 Taman Sari, main structure complete on Day 6 of building.

That’s when we decided that this technology was the future of Classroom of Hope – a partnership that allows us to continue to build schools and homes to support equal access to education, while also making a positive impact on the environment. 

From Finland to Lombok

The only problem was the distance from Finland, where Block Solutions had its only factory, to Lombok, where we had pledged to build 200+ schools and 4000 homes to help communities recover from the devastating 2018 earthquakes.

For each of the Block Schools and Block Homes that we built, the blocks had to be produced in Finland and then shipped to Lombok, incurring all the costs (financial, environmental, and time spent waiting) of international shipping and customs. 

On top of that, it didn’t feel right to use recycled plastic from Finland to create the blocks, when Indonesia is the second-largest plastic polluter in the world and plastic waste is a massive problem across the country – a problem that could be turned into a resource with this technology!

That’s why Classroom of Hope began working with Block Solutions in 2021 to propose the building of a new factory in Lombok, helping to make connections and bring various entities together to make it a reality.

Building A Sustainable Future with The Block Solutions Factory

Now, fast forward to today, and here we are – finally welcoming the Block Solutions Lombok Factory, the first in the Asia Pacific!

It was an honour for Classroom of Hope to be present at the inauguration of the factory, alongside various other investors, organisations, consulates, local community members, and government partners who helped to make this day possible. 

Members of the Nusa Tenggara Barat Government, Finnish Embassy, Australian Consulate, EU in Indonesia, Classroom of Hope, Happy Hearts Indonesia, Block Solutions Asia and Block Solutions Finland gather to inaugurate the new Block Solutions Lombok Factory. Photo by Kristoffer Trondsen
A photo of the Block Solutions Lombok factory, almost ready to open its doors. Photo from Block Solutions.

The factory is a marvel of innovation, sporting a 10-tonne injection moulding machine that turns pallets made from recycled plastics into Lego-like blocks in four different sizes. These blocks, comprised of 100% locally-sourced recycled plastic waste, are lighter, more resistant, and flexible than conventional bricks, and can last between 50 to 100 years! The machine can produce one Block per minute – watch here to see the factory’s first Block produced!

Inside the factory, Block Solutions has built a model guest house, to showcase to customers what the Blocks can do.

This 24m2 one bedroom guesthouse equipped with an en-suite bathroom was designed and built by a local contractor, and — built in just 6 days  — it removed 1.5 tonnes of domestic plastic waste from the environment and reduced 3.5 tonnes of carbon emission!

With the opening of the Block Solutions Lombok Factory, we’re ready to turn Indonesia’s plastic pollution problem upside down!

We’re taking plastic waste and creating awe-inspiring, earthquake-resistant structures: schools, homes, toilets – all while embracing the circular economy and sustainable building. 

A few key notes: 

  • Having this factory means that plastic can be sourced, recycled and blocks manufactured locally, addressing Indonesia’s plastic waste crisis directly.
  • The cost of each Block School or Home will decrease over time, since we will no longer have to pay for the blocks to be imported from the Block Solutions Factory in Finland.
  • The factory will be operated and staffed by local community members, and all of the schools and homes that Classroom of Hope funds with these Blocks will be built by local construction teams – adding a great number of sustainable and green-economy jobs throughout Lombok.
  • This locally-based factory gives the added opportunity for Blocks to be shipped throughout the Indonesian archipelago, allowing other entities, both private and non-profit, to use this incredible technology for sustainable building.
Duncan Ward and Brad Moreland of Block Solutions Asia (formerly of Classroom of Hope) and Toni Kontkanen of Block Solutions Finland stand alongside the factory’s local managers with the first Blocks produced at the Block Solutions Lombok factory.
The opening of the Block Solutions Factory in Lombok is more than just a milestone; it’s a testament to what we can achieve when we come together.

With this pivotal partnership, Classroom of Hope is not just promising better, more resilient schools and homes. We’re committing to reduce plastic waste, embrace the circular economy, and make sustainable building practices a part of our ethos.

Our grand vision is that the factory will inspire other regions of Indonesia to build factories and then across Asia and the world. We feel this technology should be shared so that we can take plastic waste, create value and make an environmental impact!

So, here’s to a future built on hope and sustainability!

We’re delighted to share this journey with you. We’re making the impossible possible, turning dreams into tangible reality, one block at a time. Together, we’re building a better world.

Welcome to Lombok, Block Solutions!

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