Newcastle University architecture students reach out to orphans in Uganda
Rarely is it that UK students are represented positively in the media, however twelve architecture, planning and engineering students from Newcastle University have embarked upon a journey that may well see the tides turn in their favour. At the beginning of June the group jetted off to Mbarara, South West Uganda to help build a children’s village for thousands of orphans currently living in the AIDS-ravaged area.
Heavily affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Mbarara community is home to countless orphans who desperately need a safe, stable environment to call home. The students involved in the project are covering the cost of their own travel and living expenses and have raised over £10,000 to pay for local labourers and building materials with the support of multiple benefactors including Ryton-based architecture firm GRADONARCHITECTURE.
The team is already in the final stages of construction, fitting electrics and plumbing, setting window panes, putting up fences and painting the building. Efforts are currently focused on finishing a big water tank on stilts which will be connected to a nearby tap and provide (almost) constant running water for the community. It may sound like a smooth operation the daily grind is not without its hindrances. With no running water as yet, the student team and builders must make several trips each day to a nearby lake armed with their truck and numerous jerry cans. Parking the truck at the top of the hill, the students make repeated trips with the cans to fill up tanks on the truck. Heavy work in stifling conditions!
One member of the dedicated team, stage three Architecture student Laura Whittaker, said: “This is such an exciting opportunity for students to see how construction is done in another country, whilst helping a community by providing much needed new homes for orphan children in a third world country. The project offers them more space to help more children in better conditions, and provides all important work for local labourers for at least a few months every year. To gain the support of businesses like GRADONARCHITECTURE means the world to us, and every donation counts.”
To keep up to date with developments on the project, visit the Wider Mbarara Project website by clicking here or join the team’s Facebook group.