Nigeria's Makoko slum which is raised on top of the Lagos lagoon is home to nearly 100,000 people. The majority of residents are fishermen, living on stilted houses along the Lagos lagoon, moving between their houses by canoe. In November 2015 a new school opened, offering free education to local children, most of whose parents fish for a living and who, like most of the megacity's 21 million residents, lack a reliable electricity and water supply. The Makoko Floating School is pyramid-shaped, floating and capable of withstanding the waterways' extreme weather, and has become a beacon of hope.

Built with locally sourced wood and floating on hundreds of recycled plastic barrels, The Makoko Floating School has room for 100 pupils and throws a spotlight on the poverty that pervades the commercial hub of Africa's most populous nation.

Floating school
A student arrives at a floating school on a canoe in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
Writing is seen on a plank at a floating school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
A student stands on a bench to write on the board at a floating school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters

The Makoko Floating School is aid-funded, allowing the chance for young people to experience social mobility, whose water-based way of life is threatened by climate change as well as rapid urbanisation.

The school, designed by Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi and taking three years to build, can adapt to changing water levels and was built specifically to withstand the storms and floods that are common in the four-month-long rainy season.

The school's director, Shemede Noah, said the new site is a major improvement on the old one, which was built on reclaimed land and has been damaged by high tides in the peak rainy months of October and November.

"They started building the school and everybody was saying that it's unbelievable, we can't wait to see it, it can't happen," he said.

Floating school
A boy sits in a canoe in front of a shed built on a raft in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
A teacher writes on the board at a floating school in Makoko fishing community on Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
The Makoko floating school is seen anchored in the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
Students read a book at the Makoko floating school on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters

The school has 47 pupils so far and they, like other children in the lagoon, travel to school by canoe. Inside, in yellow and blue uniforms, they sit at wooden tables against a backdrop of walls covered in brightly coloured maps, historical timelines and other learning guides.

"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." 11-year-old Omodobu Emmanuel said "I like it because it's built on water and is a cordial environment to learning and clapping and jumping and singing."

Local government officials have recognised the success of the school and there are now plans to incorporate the Floating School's design in other districts.

Floating school
Students who attend a floating school arrive by canoe to school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
Structures built on a raft are seen in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
A girl selling fuel in bottles sits in a canoe under a shed in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
A girl sings during morning devotion before the start of classes at a floating school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
Students who attend a floating school arrive by canoe to school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
A view of the Makoko fishing community is seen from top of a floating school on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
A woman cooks on a canoe in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
Students stand on the terrace near the entrance of a classroom at a floating school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
A student of a floating school sweeps the floor of a classroom before the start of lessons in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters
Floating school
Chalk is placed on a blackboard at a floating school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, NigeriaAkintunde Akinleye/ Reuters