Ngoc, a recent graduate from the class of 2020 is the founder of a social impact initiative, Ecobrick Saigon. Starting life as an after-school activity for EIS Middle and High School students to make eco-bricks from waste plastic, Ecobrick Saigon has expanded its reach by collaborating with other environmental organisations to help build houses for those in need. We asked Ngoc about her amazing leadership project.
When did you start the Ecobrick Saigon?
Ecobrick Saigon was founded in March 2019. We started the project in EIS by organising an after-school activity for our Middle and High School students every Tuesday. Later on, some of our Primary students came along to join us. We collected used plastic and use them to make eco-bricks. We also participated in workshops every Saturday with other non-EIS students. Used plastics are washed very carefully, dried under the sun, cut into small pieces, and then empty bottles are filled with the small plastic pieces. Each full bottle weighs from 0.5 – 1 kg and becomes an eco-brick. It takes between 8 – 12 hours for 1 person to make 2 – 3 eco-bricks.
What was your role in Ecobrick House?
We collaborated with three environmental organisations (Nulla, Kelu Ideas Vietnam, and Evol Vietnam) to make eco-bricks and build a house for an unfortunate agent orange family in Vung Tau. Over the past 6 months, we manufactured more than 600 eco-bricks, half of our initial goal of 1,000 eco-bricks in a year.
What did this project teach you?
Contributing to this project helped us realise how nature is suffering. We humans are producing over 300 million tons of plastic every year, 50% of which is for single-use purposes – utilised for just a few moments, but which lasts for several hundred years on the planet. More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, causing the death of many species. At EIS, we use fewer plastics, for example instead of using plastic bottles of water, the School arranged many water fountain points and we bring our own bottles to drink water from every day.
Do you have any advice for your peers at EIS?
At EIS, students are encouraged to lead and participate in this kind of project. We receive a lot of support from our teachers and school staff. Keep on going, as not only are you protecting the environment, but you are also contributing to society. This is a great opportunity for students in Grade 11 and 12 to consider for their Community-Action-Service (CAS) project.