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Students organize school environment in Tanzania

Published: 12 May 2015

The organization Engineers Without Borders, has a student group at Luleå University of Technology who is doing a volunteer project in Tanzania. It aims to help orphans and children in need of special support in the country to a good school environment. That is done by the students contributing with their knowledge from studying engineering.

- When I was involved in starting the association here at the university I thought that overall it is too little focus on that one can help as a volunteer with engineering skills.There is so much you can do and if you contribute a little bit so it can be incredibly well, says Elin Caiman studying Industrial Engineering at Luleå University of Technology and has previously been a volunteer in Africa.

The students cooperate with the nongovernmental organization CCY Caring from Childhood to Youth, founded by some Swedish women who are active in the mountain village Bumilayinga in central Tanzania. In that village they has built an an orphanage, a school and a day care center for orphans and children with special needs. Here, the students' knowledge stands in focus.


Houses in the village Bumilayinga, Tanzania
House to be cleaned up and isolated. Photo Linnea Öhman

- I got the contact details to one of the girls who works down there and from there we began to discuss what their needs are and then we found three points where we can help, says Kamal Mohamed, project and study for Master of Civil Engineering at the University.

To decontaminate buildings wooden structures from termites by using decontamination consultants is one of the points that the students suggested, another is about noise. The newly built schools have been equipped with metal roof which during extreme periods of rain causes a lot of disturbing noise when the rain patters on the roof. It interferes with the kids when they go to sleep when they stay at school and in lessons when they receive education.

- What we will do is to add fibreboard internally to dampen the sound, says Mohammad Afaneh, he also a student at the university


Another measure that the students plan to help with is to secure an existing, hand-dug well. It should be dug deeper and stabilized with concrete. Subsequently, a specially designed pump (Saajhi stepping pump) will be installed.

- The user trampling several times on the pedal so that water is pushed up and this can be used to irrigate agriculture. There is a mechanical filter removing particles, and in addition it is movable. We even have a thought that children can be taught how to grow and how to use the pump, says Kamal Mohamed.

Two of the students in the group has the ambition to go down to Tanzania to the fall and right now sponsorship is in focus. Money is sought from various companies and the student group also arranges own activities to raise funds. Another ambition by the studens is that such projects will become a part of education.

- One hope for the future is to be able to have a project like this and actually be able to make it into something that becomes part of the training so that for example, we can get 7.5 credits for a project like this, says Elin Caiman.