News from Aarhus University School of Engineering
24-03-2011 Students help to house thousands of homeless Pakistanis
Engineer students are at the head of a comprehensive reconstruction in Pakistan. As a part of the humanitarian aid organisation; Engineers without Borders, they have saved more than 2000 homeless people from the brutal winter in one of Pakistan’s worst disaster areas.
In autumn 2011 students from the Engineering College of Aarhus have been out on the street to draw attention to the fact that relief effort is taking place in Pakistan. Together with Engineers Without Borders they have had the purpose of rebuilding houses, in one of the areas that have been badly struck by the floods. Today, only a few months later, they have managed to house a whole village.
Houses save lives
Caroline White was one of the students participating in Engineers Without Borders. She has just returned from the disaster area and has been hugely affected by her experiences.
“People have lost everything in the floods. There was nothing left in the area, except a few bare trees. No houses, no animals, no crops,” she recounts.
Normally she is studying to be a constructional engineer at the Engineering College of Aarhus but has been engaged in aid work for a long time. The last few months she has been working at full stretch to build houses in a village in the north western part of Pakistan by the border crossing to Afghanistan. Three grand rivers meet in this area, and the floods therefore hugely affect it.
“We have been working intensively with the reconstruction. It has been amazing to see that our efforts make a difference for the people in need; a simple clay house can save a whole family’s life. You have to be very lucky to survive the winter in Pakistan without housing,” she recounts.
Aid work challenges the professional capability
As an engineer student she has been working with the technical details in the rebuilding, instructed the locals in the construction and monitored the progress of the rebuilding efforts. In addition to the joy of helping people she is also challenged, when it comes to her professional capabilities. The building material in Pakistan is bamboo, clay and straw, and very much different from the material used at the Engineering College of Aarhus: steel, concrete and bricks. By using material accessible in the local area it has succeeded Engineers without Borders to build 291 houses on the budget of 400.000 Danish kroner.
Caroline White, student at the Engineering College of Aarhus and project manager in Engineers Without Borders. Telephone: 40 76 19 80
See information about the organisation Engineers without Borders