Every morning, students in Assam’s Pamohi village go to school clutching a bag of plastic waste, in exchange for which they will get their day’s lessons. Akshar School, founded by Mazin Mukhtar, 32, and his wife Parmita Sarma, 30, has turned its pupils into ecowarriors by waiving school fees and helping to stop local people burning used plastic. The village’s toxic bonfires were causing such an environmental hazard, children were coughing and wheezing in their classrooms. The school was founded to provide an education for children in the area, most of whom were working in the local stone quarries, earning about $3 (£2.25) a day. Few of the hard-pushed parents were keen to send an earning member of the family to study. Mazin Mukhtar, who with his wife Sarma founded Akshar school in Pamohi. Photograph: Biju Boro/AFP/Getty Images “When we asked the parents to send their household plastic with their children on the school bus, almost none of them complied. They preferred to burn their plastic at home. So my wife told them we would start charging fees. Fees which they could pay in cash, or in plastic waste from their homes,” says Mukhtar. The alternative school fees policy […]


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