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Rwanda Health and Healing Project

Hosted by: Engineers Without Borders - Philadelphia Professional Chapter


Ongoing Opportunity


Contact coordinator for times


Lora Markley

About Rwanda Health and Healing Project

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The Rwanda project has been a successful collaboration between several NGOs with different talents. The story begins with a woman named Lily Yeh, of Barefoot Artists, and her desire to aid the genocide survivor's village of Rugerero with the proper burial of their families and friends. She and the community built the memorial structure in 2004 which has been used since then as a location for remembering loved ones who were lost in the genocide. Lily recognized that the community had other needs as well and brought in JeffHealth and Engineers Without Borders Mid-Atlantic Professionals (EWB-PHILLY). JeffHealth established a community health committee and taught hygiene, collected community data, and provided supplements for the most malnourished children. Barefoot Artists and JeffHealth worked to establish co-ops and encourage animal husbandry. EWB-PHILLY was asked to work on a sanitation project in the community. Some of the homes did not have functioning latrines. These were replaced by a local mason over the course of 2 years. A maintenance committee was established and taught what features of the latrines were most important over the next 3 years and now the community is independently maintaining their structures.

After completion of construction on the Rugerero Village latrines, the EWB-PHILLY team moved on to a local health clinic, the Murara Health Clinic. The health clinic had a latrine for the patients which had been destroyed in an earthquake several years before. The EWB-PHILLY team built a two chambered VIP latrine with three seats on each side. The clinic staff maintains the latrine and understands the concepts of the VIP design.

The third project in Rwanda was again a collaboration with Barefoot Artists and this time the University of Florida. The project focused a Twa community. The Twa are the original inhabitants of Rwanda who are traditionally a nomadic tribe but have been forced to settle due to population growth in Rwanda. The Twa are artists by trade. Barefoot Artists worked with the Twa to build a roadside pottery co-op, aided them with the purchase of land, and developed a dance group who performs at local hotels for tourists. EWB-PHILLY worked with the community to repair their homes which were in various states of disrepair. The project also included a latrine addition to each home.

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EWB-PHILLY is always looking to grow its membership. We are looking for engineers as well as non-engineers. The professional chapter meets the first Thursday of every month at Drexel University. If you are interested in mentoring a student chapter, traveling with student chapters, providing technical assistance, fundraising and outreach, or being involved in the Rwanda project, please contact us.
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