Lebanon, Indiana … The excitement was evident as Malawi Project board members Jim Messenger, Suzi Stephens, and Dick Stephens greeted the staff and students at the Redwood Montessori School in Lebanon, Indiana. The students had gathered in the church’s shelter house to present the board with over 7,000 toilet paper(tp) rolls they have collected for Malawi.
Over the past couple of years, the students have developed an intense interest in helping kids in Malawi, and despite so many of the Indiana students being at pre-school level, they have mounted some impressive projects, including a clothing drive after the disastrous cyclone that struck Malawi last year. An impressive number of students have studied the living conditions in one of the poorest areas of the world, as well as news events concerning current activities.
In mid-November Dan Brewer, another Malawi Project board member from Heber Springs, Arkansas, came to the school and solicited the help of the children to get the project off the ground. The students learned the problems taking place with the loss of forests and were determined to help with a solution. Dan’s project was the perfect answer. It would help the mothers who had to walk long distances for firewood, and at the same time conserve the forests. In the first month of the program the students collected over 6,200 rolls for a test program called “UBIT.” It simply means, “U Burn IT”. The term refers to the use of toilet paper rolls, shredded paper, and a small amount of candle wax to create the combustible material for cooking fires.
While the program is still in its early stages, and Project contributors have not yet been called on to join in the collection of the toilet paper rolls, the students from Montessori enjoy being at the head of the class when it comes to helping Malawi conserve its trees and, and still having available the needed resources for their cooking, bathing, and other heating needs.
Pictured are the students in the school, their teachers, Suzi Stephens and Jim Messenger (Right) of the Malawi Project. Nealy hidden in the middle of the group are over 7,000 empty toilet paper rolls the students have collected.