Recently, the young minds at Little Hearts got a hands-on lesson on recycling and environmental awareness from a group of senior undergraduate students of the University of Phnom Penh’s Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL). The students are all completing a degree in Professional Communication and hoping to tackle environmental degradation in Cambodia. They have launched a project labelled ‘Giving Plastic a Second Life’ that aims to spread awareness of environmental issues to younger Cambodians, specifically by teaching about the profound impact of plastic waste on the earth and introducing creative and exciting ways to recycle and reuse plastic. Some of the IFL students work at the Chip Mong Group and therefore know Little Hearts through the conglomerate’s partnership with us, so they decided to bring their environmental initiative to us. In addition to its educational objective, ‘Giving Plastic a Second Life’ is a fundraising opportunity for Little Hearts as the project is a collaboration with Charity for the Best, a Cambodian social enterprise that focuses on children in poverty.
On Friday, June 17th, Little Hearts welcomed five members of the project’s team, led by the three IFL students who also work at Chip Mong Group: Ms. Suybuoy Ly, Ms. Lenghouy Heng, and Ms. Keachly Sok. In our entertainment room, the team delivered an informative poster presentation that detailed the state of overproduction and waste of plastics, their harmful effects on the environment, and potential solutions to plastic waste, namely, recycling and upcycling. Equipped with this new knowledge, the kids were split into four groups to discuss their own ideas about plastic waste and recycling.
As an activity to practice upcycling plastic, the children were tasked with finding ways to fashion used plastic water bottles (the large 1.5-litre type) into flower pots. The kids promptly whipped out their arts and crafts supplies and in a frenzy of paint, brushes, scissors and glue, they cut bottles into uniquely shaped vases and set about decorating them with fun designs. With the transformed bottles complete, the kids potted small plants inside each of them. And so, we now have a colourful set of potted plants with all the vibrance and character of our children, each home to a young sapling!
‘Giving Plastic a Second Life’ is a promising project that we believe can instil eco-consciousness and resourceful thinking in our kids, who are coming up in a world that is unfortunately riddled with environmental problems – problems that can nevertheless be solved by the innovation and creativity of their generation. While preventing plastic waste and environmental abuse is certainly a daunting task, the kids are eager to help and learn, bringing to it an optimism and youthfulness that is unique to them.
Thank you to the three enthusiastic IFL students and to Charity for the Best for bringing a productive and entertaining learning experience to Little Hearts and for kindly helping us fundraise.