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How I Sent My Children To School Using Waste – A Mother of Three


It’s the month of February: plans for the rest of the year are being made, rent is due, provisions need to be acquired, and school fees need to be paid. Unsurprisingly, parents look forward to the early-year period with trepidation, with different needs pulling at their wallets. For people with multiple kids, it’s even worse because you have more mouths to feed which means some needs fall down the pecking order.


Mrs. Patience Onwuka works around Ajegunle. She has three kids — all in school, making it difficult for her to pay their school fees at the same time. When she heard of the Recycles Pay program, she was overwhelmed with joy. Life had offered her a helping hand and she wasted no time in grabbing it.


Recycles Pay is a programme incepted by the African Clean Up Initiative and supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation. Through the programme, parents and guardians can pay part of their kids and wards’ school fees by turning in a certain amount of plastic bottles. It was unheard of in Patience’s community and perhaps, the entire country, but here it was in her community, seemingly too good to be true.


“I have three children going to school which meant paying for their fees at the same time was hard. The money raised is never enough to get all of them to school which is why when I was told about Recycles Pay, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Waste for cash? I had never heard of it before. I want to thank Coca-Cola for supporting Recycles Pay and getting them to make our lives easier. I’ve also brought many other parents to benefit from this program and they also could not believe it. Without Coca-Cola, my three kids would be sitting at home. I’m very grateful to them.”


Nigeria currently has a poor record as regards child education — with 1 in every 5 out-of-school children being in the country. With the Recycles Pay project receiving a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, more people in her situation will be reached and impacted by the programme, and perhaps, the low literacy rates in the country will be significantly reduced.

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