How Shipping Container Classrooms Help Poor Communities


Not many people would look at an old shipping container and see it as a possible school, library or a kitchen. The structure itself is fireproof, durable and stable and is often a very creative solution to the issue of unsafe buildings in poor communities. Shipping containers are a viable option to be converted into classrooms to help the poorest of communities.

The starting point is for a conversion process to take place where sunny windows are added to allow light and warmth into the container. The container has security features added so that the children’s school supplies can be safely left in the classroom when the school is not in operation.  Kitchens can also be added to these container classrooms which assist in providing meals to children who otherwise would not receive a breakfast or a lunch.

The poorest of communities can benefit from having these shipping container classrooms donated to them along with auxiliary containers which can be used as libraries to house all the books that are needed by both students and teachers. Some of the library designs include the installation of floor cushions and benches for reading with doors that open onto open spaces for fresh air and light.

Many parts of the world have a need for these converted shipping container schools that can be easily and affordably converted into useful spaces where children can attend to receive an education. These containers can also provide a safe space for children after school has ended as many economically disadvantaged families have parents who work many jobs and are not at home for their children to provide meals or look after them. By providing these container schools, libraries and safe spaces, many charitable organizations are finding a useful way to help poverty-stricken children choose a path that leads them out of poverty.

When the poorest children in the world receive an education and a career path, they can help their community too. Many educational institutions do not have space to accommodate the population of students in many countries. Most places have a limited budget and buildings can be damaged by extreme weather which can lead to school closures. With these situations it forces educational administrators to use smaller spaces to try to meet the needs of students. Shipping container classrooms can offer much needed space at an affordable price or by donation. These classrooms are innovative, convenient and very cost effective, allowing educational facilities to accommodate more students.

By offering the poorest communities a way to educate their children, these shipping container schools provide refuge, hope and a place where children can learn. Without a proper education, children cannot lift themselves out of poverty and school provides a safe environment where they can learn what they need to build a future.

How Are Schools Constructed from Shipping Containers?

The best thing about shipping containers is they already have a basic structure which can be easily improved upon. Most of these builds are highly simplistic and can be customized any number of ways. The starting point is with a plan which shows the layout of what is expected to be accomplished from the floor plan of the shipping container school.

If larger schools are needs, several containers can be utilized, converted, shipped and then connected together. If the educational institution has the means or some budget, they may wish to have a say in the planning and building of the project.

Containers can either be purchased or donated, depending upon the organization. The cost per container will be a major factor in how many are purchased as well as the size of those containers. Some organizations will purchase in bulk while others will only purchase a container or two at a time and then build on those containers as funds come available.

Another important consideration of school installation is the laying of a solid foundation. Shipping containers can be delivered to any location, but there is a very real need for a foundation upon which the schools will sit, particularly if they are to be used for years into the future. The foundation provides a solid base for the school, ensuring that it is safe for the children and the educators.

Once the containers have been located and purchased (or donated) they are ready for customization. It is important for the community to decide if modifications are to be made before the containers are shipped to their ultimate location. Windows can be added, fiberglass panels and shelves, transforming the space into the best possible learning space.

Upon the completion of the shipping container school to the specifications of the client, plumbing and electrical must be installed as well as interior and exterior pain. Once this is all completed, the classroom is ready to be used.

What are the Main Benefits of using Shipping Containers as Schools?

Shipping container schools provide plenty of great advantages. Some of the most common ones are:

Speed of Build

When you look at the various types of construction, building a school from a shipping container is very quick. Shipping containers already have the basic shape and structure needed and are available for quick delivery. Custom units take between four and ten weeks of construction which is still less time than building a school from the ground up. Traditional construction requires between four and six months for a space of around 2000 square feet.

Affordable Construction

One of the best options for a poor community is a shipping container school because it is highly affordable. Even if the community cannot afford to purchase the container, many charities can lend a hand and purchase the materials and the container to assist the community. Shipping container schools cost less than half of traditional construction per square foot. A 2,000 square foot classroom would cost somewhere in the range of $300,000.00 to build while a shipping container would cost less than half of that amount. The final cost of the build would depend on the type of containers purchased and the amount of modifications contained in the build.

Flexibility / Options

Shipping container schools have the ability to be fully customized inside of a construction facility or in a warehouse. This means that construction workers can work on the project without having to first run electrical hook ups to the building or to have to ship certain resources and equipment to the build site to complete the project.  This can save time and money on the project and ensure that it is completed on time and under budget.

Shipping container schools benefit thousands of impoverished children and these special builds can last up to 30 years, ensuring that generations of children receive an education.

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