The Makoko Floating School in Lagos is an innovative pyramid-shaped structure that can house up to 100 students and teachers, and is able to withstand tidal changes and extreme weather patterns. Sharon Reich reports.
Nicknamed the Venice of Lagos, Nigeria's Makoko slum is home to nearly 100,000 people. Residents are mostly fishermen, living on stilts in the lagoon and moving between their houses by canoe. Last November, a new school opened in the slum and enrolled 47 students. It's called the Makoko floating school. The movable building is shaped like a pyramid and has an eco-friendly construction. It was built with recycled empty plastic barrels, locally sourced bamboo and wood procured from a sawmill. The school's triangular frame can adapt to changing tides and water levels, making it better suited to survive floods and storms. Shemede Noah is the Floating School's director. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHEMEDE NOAH, DIRECTOR, FLOATING SCHOOL SAYING: "During October to November, the water level in the community do rise very well and do affect the existing structure; I mean in the old school because the old school was built on a reclaimed land. But this was built on floating barrels which whenever the water level rises, it rises and whenever the water level goes down, it goes down." Local government officials took notice and now plan to incorporate the Floating School's design in other districts. Pupils give the floating classrooms two thumbs up too. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OMODOBU EMMANUEL, STUDENT SAYING: "I have never seen a school floating on water before, this is the only one that I've seen that is why I forced my parents to take me to this school. I like the school." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIZABETH AHHANEEZUN, STUDENT SAYING: "I like it because it's built on water and cordial environment to learning and clapping and jumping and singing." The slum was designated for demolition in 2013, which would have left many homeless. Luckily, the Floating School has brought global attention to the plight of Makoko -and the precious gift of education to these children.