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Self-Sustainable School

Education in emergencies and crisis while using circular economy to finance it.

Photo of Maarit Johanna
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Over 65 million are out of school due to various emergencies and crisis in the world. Many of them are children on the move. Their families have difficulties to provide for them and many children end up in child labor or early marriage. Many host countries lack jobs and schools; Most of the host countries are developing countries. They also lack efficient waste management to organize basic recycling systems. Ecological crisis desperately needs sustainable solutions. Waste to be seen as a resource. I came across a few schools in developing countries, which fund their schoolwork by recycling waste. That gave me the idea to do this on a larger scale in host communities hosting large amounts of refugees and have severe waste issues like Lebanon. The idea is that waste management and recycling is done by refugees and migrants so they can make their livelihoods. School is funded with the incomes from this business. This adds to the host community, so refugees and migrants can better be integrated into their new communities. They become an asset instead of being a cost as they are often now seen plus we solve issues of ecological crisis at the same time. Our concept is empowering too. Aid dependency is to be voided with fresh thinking like this.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

We would like to do this piloting of the concept in Lebanon, which is the most refugee dense nation in the world. Lebanon has one refugee for every 4 nationals. It also struggles with extreme waste issues. There are lots of grassroots non-profits there to partner with too. Security issues are a problem though and for that, we have a back-up plan to do it in Greece which has dealt with refugees since 2015. there we have a great existing network of non-profits.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Refugees become a contributing factor in society instead of being seen as a cost. They become equal with locals in the host communities. Everyone gains.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Making a livelihood yourself gives you joy, hope for the future after you have lost it all. It is giving them their dignity back. Parents want a better future for their children and this way it can be done.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

It creates jobs, income, school seats, and environmental impact. All these can and will be measured.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Lebanon hosts both Syrian and Palestine refugees. Nation has been under a lot of pressure for many years. Its role is important to the stability of the Middle East. It is under the circumstances the most secure nation in the area with Jordan to implement a project like this. our idea should be tested in genuine conditions and then it can be taken to other nations. Previously mentioned example schools have also inspired and the huge needs of the people in the move, host communities. My experiences in Greece with refugees and migrants inspired me to research forced migration past 4 years. They deserve better than we give them now.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Our work is based on science and experiences of the people on the move. I have collected data in Lesvos Greece while I was there for the refugees and migrants 6 months in 2015-2016. People speak about work and education for their children. That is what they dream and speak about. Ordinary life. In addition to that, we have used UNHCR, Unesco, INEE and Greece Education Sector Working Group Data, which always has the voice of people on the move.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Finland has great strength in providing inclusive education of all and it also has a strength in the field of waste management and recycling. All these skills can be used in the benefit of the people on the move on this concept of ours.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

This needs to be done funding first based. All grass-roots NGO's struggle with funding on the moment, because the needs are enormous and increasing while we speak. We need to have secured funding and then approach the suitable partners in order to proceed. What we choose depends also in which nation we manage to operate in Greece or in Lebanon.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Systems design: Solutions that target changing larger system

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name


Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

SchoolBusters is a non-profit organization, which is non-political and non-religious. Our purpose is to innovate for the people on the move educational needs. I started this after my volunteer time in Greece when it came clear to me that needs are acute and escalating at high speed. Our team is multidisciplinary and our approaches are refugee based. They are always a part of the solution. We like to keep our organization small, agile and innovative. Ongoing research is a must to keep us updated. We aim to large scale solutions, as it was stated in the first World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 in Istanbul, that our ways to give humanitarian aid has failed. We look for refugee-based solutions ewe create as buddies as busters.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State


Attachments (1)

Self Sustainable School.pdf

Our concept idea flyer


Join the conversation:

Photo of Griselda Vera

Hello Maarit! This is a very interesting idea. I have thought about it myself in the past but never proceeded with it. Education should be inclusive and accesible and this could be a way to achieve that. I wish you all the success with this project! Great work!

Photo of Maarit Johanna

Thank you Griselda for your encouraging words. We also follow SDG's.

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