The University of Memphis Engineers Without Borders chapter is currently involved in a five year partnership with the rural Bolivian community of Piquinani. The community reached out to us asking for help in bringing greenhouses to the village so that they may be able to grow crops year round.
Upon our initial assessment trip to the community in March of this year we found that most of the residents of the village were either children under the age of fourteen or seniors over the age of fifty. We discovered that the reason for this is that during the winter months they are unable to grow crops due to the harsh winds and bitter cold of the Andes Mountains, as a result everyone of working age has to travel up to three hours by car to the capitol city of La Paz to find work and send money back home. With transportation from the capitol to the community being scarce and expensive they often go months without seeing their family.
The Memphis professional and student chapters of EWB have been hard at work trying to accomplish this task. We have recently reached a major milestone in the project by designing a prototype greenhouse that is both functional and cost effective.
We then reached out to Grow Memphis who allowed us to construct and test this design while providing them with a new greenhouse for their community garden.
The funds requested through this campaign will serve two purposes. The first of which is for purchasing construction materials for the greenhouses. Our goal is to be able to provide at least five greenhouses for the community so that every family may have a plot to grow, however the more money we raise the more we will be able to provide as there are currently 40 families living there. The second purpose is travel for our team members, our hope is to bring as many student engineers as possible on the trip as this project will provide valuable hands on experience in planning and implementing an engineering project.
A project of this nature has the potential to change not only the lives of those in Bolivia receiving the greenhouses, but those of us seeing this project through. Our current goal is to raise the funds by January to bring three students; however, it is the hope that through this campaign and through your donations we will be able to bring up to ten future engineers to share in this experience and ensure the success of this project.