Phoebe, Upper VI is part of a team which has been nominated for the Earth Prize 2022 – one of the final ten teams from hundreds of entrants.
At the beginning of 2021, my friend Cosmo and I decided we wanted to find a way to support a local school in producing their own green energy via solar panels. We desired to do this as many schools cannot afford this type of investment, both because the price upfront is too high or due to the fact that it takes time for a profit to be produced. We obtained the support of Pauline Herbommez, who is in charge of sustainability at Eton College, as well as Councillor Donna Stimson; it has been full steam ahead ever since! We decided to collaborate with Altwood Church of England School in Maidenhead as they had a fabulous interest in being involved and their students were so excited to be involved. We had the sports hall roof of Altwood surveyed, to ensure that it was suitable for solar panels, which it was, and now all the schools involved are beginning to fundraise! We hope to raise £25,000 by the summer in order to install the solar panels.
We decided to push ourselves even further by expanding our project to add another school, located in South Africa, and work with them as well to install solar panels on their own school. We are working with the incredible KwaThintwa School for the Deaf, Kwazulu Natal, as they continuously have blackouts due to lack of funds to pay for electricity bills. Students at the school lose one day of education every week due to this.
The energy will support the students’ education through electronic devices, as the school relies heavily on visual electronics in order to support the special needs teaching at the school. Any excess energy will also help to power the projectors the school plans to install.
Our donor will match every pound raised for Altwood in order to fund solar panels for KwaThintwa.
I am so grateful and proud that we will be able to help these two amazing schools in their journey to having their own sustainable and reliable energy source. All young people deserve the right to live in a world powered by green energy, which can support them in obtaining a good education and looking forward to their prospects for the future; this being both for their working and recreational lives, but also in a biodiverse world with clean, unpolluted air.
I hope that our project will be a catalyst for the creation of similar ideas by other young people across the world. By collaborating together as a global community, we can truly fight the climate crisis head-on.
We are now one of ten finalists of the international Earth Prize 2022, with the winners receiving $100,000, or $25,000 for the runners up! I am so happy at the prospect of the project being able to use this money in order to help the amazing schools involved, as well as seeing the recognition of the incredible achievements of fellow students at Eton and Altwood, as well as my own!
Please consider supporting the Collaborative Schools Solar Project here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/schoolssolarproject.