In Sabah, Malaysia, many thousands of stateless children have become marginalised due to their legal status. These are mainly children of illegal or legal Indonesian migrant labourers. The migrants come to Sabah to seek an income on the plantations so they can have a decent life.The Etania schools are learning centres for their children, who have no access to education until a school begins for them. Therefore, the Etania schools run a full learning program, 6 days a week with all the necessary curriculum subjects.In these learning centres, children have safety, security and happiness enjoy-ing their right to learn. Etania has an ambitious plan to build 30 school across Sabah. They asked billionBricks to prepare a prototype school design for the first school for 350 children aged 5-13.
The school is located along a river with a history of massive floods once every 10 years or so. The destruction of the original rainforest and their replacement by oil palm plantations has increased the flood risk even further. Therefore, the prototype school is, not unlike much of Borneo’s vernacular architecture, raised from the ground. However, the classrooms are here lifted off the ground in an unconventional way.
Five decommissioned shipping containers and an artificially created mound from soil excavated for a water harvesting pond, support the classrooms. This minimises the structural components and stabilises the framework. Addition-ally, it creates a covered space below the classrooms for a lunch area and gathering space. The containers themselves are used for storage and toilets.