A cross-section of some of the tables and artworks made by the students from recycled materials
BY DAYO ADESULU
In what can be regarded as an unprecedented accomplishment, the special needs students of Anthos House have opened an online store called Anthos Treasures. The online store features pieces of jewellery, furniture, and artworks made from recycled materials during their vocational classes. Expressing her excitement about the store, Dr Kimberley Scollard, the head of Anthos House, said her school is committed to changing the narrative that special needs children don’t have anything to offer society.
“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 the skills needed to take their place in society,” she said.
Dr Scollard also spoke on how the idea of the online pop-up store was birthed. She revealed: “Our students engage in vocational training every week, but no one thought of selling the products made during the classes until a student suggested it. The suggestion came before the covid-19 pandemic, and we initially had a plan to open a brick-and-mortar physical store to showcase and sell these products. But as a result of the lockdown and other covid-19 restrictions, we decided to go online, and that was how Anthos Treasures was born. The store can be assessed through our website, www.anthoshouse.org.”
She concluded her remarks by saying that all proceeds made from the sales of the products will be reinvested back to exposing special needs children to a wider variety of vocational skills training.
MrNwosisi Moses (aka Beadgod), the vocational skills teacher of the students, also talked about the store, stating that the majority of the items listed in the store are made from recycled materials.
“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, coasters, among others were made from resin. The idea of turning waste to wealth thrilled the students” he said.
Anthos House is located in Jakande, Lekki Phase II, and 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.