Class II students of Gakidling Primary School in Sarpang dzongkhag of Bhutan carrying school bags made from used plastic rice sacks

Sarpang, Bhutan: A teacher’s effort to provide an environment-friendly alternative to school bags at a remote village in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is taking the Internet by storm.

Jigme Zangmo, a Class II teacher at Gakidling Primary School in Sarpang dzongkhag (an administrative district of Bhutan), is providing school bags made from used plastic rice sacks to her students. As a trial, 13 kids have been given those bags free of cost.

13 students of Gakidling Primary School in Sarpang dzongkhag of Bhutan have been given the recycled school bags on a trial basis

“At first, I used some plastic sacks to make flower pots. That’s when I got the idea of using those sacks for making school bags,” said Zangmo, who has been working as a teacher at the school in Jigmecholing gewog (a village block) for the past four years.

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“I asked the mess in-charge in my school to give me the rice sacks whenever they get empty and are ready to be disposed of,” she said.

The school bags are made from used plastic rice sacks

Later, looking at the finished product, her colleagues in the school also started giving away their used rice sacks. “They have been very encouraging and supportive of my idea,” Zangmo said.

Comfort, did someone ask? “I first tried it on myself. It was only after that I started making for my students. It’s so comfortable that even my daughter, who’s just six years old, has been using such a bag,” she added.

Even the teacher’s six-year-old daughter is a big fan of the recycled school bags

Sarpang is located about 210 km from the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu. From Sarpang, the school is about 110 km. At present, it’s connected only by a ‘kutcha’ road.

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“During rainy season, the situation becomes so bad that we have to walk for about 8 hours to reach the main road, as the ‘farm road’ becomes inaccessible for vehicles,” she explained.

Jigme Zangmo first got the idea when she was making flower pots for her house
Students with flower pots made from used rice sacks
Jigme Zangmo with her students

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