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Special needs students launch pop-up store from recycled materials

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The special needs students of Anthos House, Lagos, have opened an online store, which features pieces of

Some of the tables and artworks made by the students from recycled materials<br />

, furniture, and artworks made from recycled materials during their vocational classes.

Expressing her excitement about the store, Dr Kimberley Scollard, Head of Anthos House, said her school is committed to changing the narrative that special needs children don’t have anything to offer society.

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Scollard said: “Indeed Anthos House is a unique place to learn and grow and we are happy with the growth and accomplishments of our students. Before the launch of Anthos Treasures, one of our students who want to become a coach has been given the opportunity to intern as a football coach, and he’s making tremendous progress.

“In the past in Nigeria, special needs children were usually locked at home because their parents didn’t believe they could make valuable contributions to society. Things started changing when inclusive schools such as our mother school, Greensprings, started admitting and providing learning support for kids with special needs. Today, at Anthos House, we are happy that our special needs students are not just in school to learn about only academics; they are fast becoming as independent as possible because they are acquiring skills needed to take their place in society,” she added.

Dr Scollard, who also spoke on how the idea of an online pop-up store was birthed, noted that students engaged in vocational training every week without any thought of selling products made during the classes until a student suggested it.

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She said the group initially planned to open a brick-and-mortar physical store to showcase and sell these products until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and general lockdown.

As a result of the pandemic, Scollard said the team decided to go online, adding that proceeds from the sales would be reinvested to expose special needs children to a wider variety of vocational skills training.

The vocational skills teacher, Mr Nwosisi Moses said the majority of the items listed in the store were made from recycled materials.

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He said: “The materials we used in making most products listed on Anthos Treasures online shop came from trash. These are waste materials that the students assumed can no longer be useful; therefore, by making valuable products from waste materials, the students get to learn about recycling. Some of the products we have listed on the online store include tables; stools and throw pillows were made from old tyres, cow horns, and Ankara materials. “Other products such as earrings, jewellery dishes, paper-weight, and coasters, among others, were made from resin. The idea of turning waste to wealth thrilled the students,” Moses added.

Anthos House is a leading special needs school in Nigeria. It accommodates students aged from 10 to 17+ years old with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD, and other learning difficulties.

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