Earlier this year, the secondary Bait-ul Ilm students of Antananarivo in Madagascar gave birth to a project entitled Green STEP, in collaboration with civil society organisations in the country, in order to better serve the physical and social environment around them.

Secondary students of Antananarivo Bait-ul Ilm put their learning into practice by launching Green STEP, which aimed to change their environment, helping to transform the lives of hundreds of pupils and orphans at the Magnificat school and orphanage in the country’s capital city. The project was conducted in collaboration with non-governmental organisations Greener Madagascar, GreeNKool, and 2hy-faire lien, who provided facilitators, artists, and other volunteers to help on the day.

Through the Green STEP project, students took on the challenge to create a long-term positive environmental impact for the Centre. In only a matter of hours, with hard work, fun, and a common vision, the students and volunteers created a new playground for the school by installing trampolines and a swing made with old tires. 

“The ethic of Islam encourages sharing, generosity, and helping those in need. I have never been able to achieve a such project in the past or been able to transform an environment in such a short time. To see the joy of these kids, it is just great! I had fun, I have helped others, this day was wonderful” said Johanna, a secondary student.

Students worked together to build storage spaces, make decorations, and implement a new recycling system at the centre. They also repainted the walls and participated in a plantation workshop, which taught all participants how to plant trees and vegetables, and thus better care for the natural environment.

Nirma, a secondary student, said, “We have learned a lot about recycling in order to take more care of our earth. Our experience this Sunday is linked to the ethics of Islam because through these actions, we brought joy, colour, happiness, and smiles to people’s lives. It helps me to act as a steward of the environment because I am contributing to protect our earth and helping the kids to have a better life.”  

Both the youth of the centre and the Bait ul-Ilm students developed an awareness of how to maintain a healthy environment which can bring creativity, joy, and serenity to the people who live in it. Secondary student Shahim shared how much he was touched to repaint the place where the kids play everyday, as it had the potential to be a daily source of inspiration for them.

At the orphanage, students also learned how to sort and value waste, and change their habits to take care of their environment, for themselves and future generations.

Ali-Shan, one of the students said, “I have learned that not to throw things everywhere would be beneficial for the earth.” One of his classmates added, “My learning will enable me to change my habits. I have learned so much about recycling, such as how to stop using plastics or how to reuse objects such as old boxes.”

Ilyana added: “This experience was one of the most touching of my life. By doing these small activities and by giving a bit of our time and love, we have managed to bring happiness to other people’s lives. It is in these kinds of moments that we realised how small gestures can make such a big difference and generate good things. I have learned to think less about myself and more about others.”

Individually we cannot change the world, but together we can make a difference. The motto “A big green step, together for a better world!" encapsulated what each of the groups in harmony put into practice together on 7 April in Antananarivo.