Thinking Huts is bringing 3D-printed schools to people who need them

The project is led by Maggie Grout, who came up with the idea when she was just 15
Maggie Grout stands with others in front of her company's first 3D-printed school, which opened in Madagascar in April 2022. (

Schools are such an important resource.

Perhaps you might not think of it that way? After all, if you live in Canada or the United States, schools are provided by the government and are free for all kids to attend (these are known as public schools). You may have never questioned not being able to go to school.

But for literally millions of kids around the world, getting to go to school is a luxury. Schools in their area are either overcrowded, too far away, or don't exist at all.

That is why Thinking Huts exists. Started by its founder, Maggie Grout, this non-profit company uses large-scale 3D-printing technology to quickly and cheaply build schools where they needed the most. She tells her story in this video.

Let's check it out!

An opportunity

Many studies exist showing the importance of education. Not only does an education give kids a better chance to get good jobs in the future, it also helps them increase their curiosity of the world around them. This allows them to speak up for themselves, and for better human rights and better government.

In short, the better the education, the more life improves for everyone!

Even as a young girl, Maggie saw this. She was adopted from China by an American family when she was only 18 months old. As she grew up and learned more about the world, she realized that she was very lucky to have the access to education that she did. At 15, she started to get the idea of helping to build schools for those who needed them most.

But that was easier said than done.

Moving forward

The 3D printer stands about 6 metres (15 feet) tall! (Getty Embed)

After eight years of research and networking, Grout helped to put together a team that uses a 3D-printer to build the schools. The machine pours out concrete, in layer after layer. In a video interview with Mashable, Grout describes it as being like "icing a cake". Neat!

The entire structure is not 3D-printed though. Windows, as well as wood and metal for the roof and doors, are sourced (found) locally, built and installed by contractors from the area. This way, Thinking Huts is trying to combine building sturdy schools quickly, while also giving work projects for the local economy. The schools also provide new jobs for teachers in the area.

Her team recently built Madagascar's first-ever 3D-printed school in April 2022. And she is only getting started.

"My goal for us," she tells Mashable, "is for us to one day not exist because then we will have solved the problem." Way to go, Maggie!

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