Travel to Guatemala is breaking for the country’s rich culture, welcoming people, and breathtaking scenery.  Too many Guatemalan children, however, lack access to an education.  The cost of education is one huge problem.

To that end, Hug It Forward has funded the completion of 12 schools with four more on the drawing board.  All of them are built from plastic bottles at a cost of less than US$10,000.  The process, developed by the non-profit Pura Vida, solves several problems.  The plastic bottles are stuffed with garbage, nudged between layers of chicken wire, and wedged between layers of concrete to form the schools’ walls.  This brilliant blend of humanitarian design, waste diversion, and social mission is helping this gem of a country rebuild.  For communities struggling with garbage collection and strapped funds, this is one solution that should not be overlooked.

The program also works because students are involved in their schools’ construction--often by collecting the bottles that form the classrooms in which they learn.  Architecture can be for the masses--and we need more solutions like this one.

Photo from Hug It Forward (click to expand).

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.