Catch-Up School for Rwandan Orphans Project

$100 $59,900
Raised Remaining


Several major changes have occurred in the past three months. Due to insignificant funds, the CU Boulder EWB Rwanda team has been forced to abandon plans to construct a school for Rwandan Orphans. The design of the school was unable to be completed because the team lacked the funds to return to Rwanda. A motion to redesign the school to be smaller and cheaper was overturned by the Rwandan Orphans Project and the EWB Rwanda team because it would require more time and money than the organizations have. Additional developments on the side of ROP have forced EWB Rwanda to cancel the project entirely.

The CU Boulder team is now optimistically looking for new projects that will be more attainable and better serve the community. We are considering other options in Rwanda, several water projects in Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana, and Kenya, and an energy project in Ethiopia. Because the CU Boulder team is so large, we are considering splitting into two groups to tackle two of these projects. The final project selections and team designations will be complete by April.

As a team we are very grateful for your continued support and involvement through Global Giving. Thanks!

Please feel free send any questions or comments to, and make sure to check our website at!


EWB-CU Team Rwanda

School Schematic
School Schematic



During the past three months, there have been many exciting developments here in Boulder at the University of Colorado! The Engineers Without Borders team is now halfway through the semester, and is knee deep making this school a reality.

Here are a couple of updates on the activities of the EWB-USA CU Rwanda Program this semester:

Our design team recently completed and submitted a full, working blueprint of the school. The design of the school is specially designed to maximize the space we have to work with, while providing sustainable features:

  • The school will have twelve fully-furnished classrooms.
  • The school will be in the shape of an ‘L.’
    • One length of the ‘L’ will define the property boundaries.
    • This design creates a large open space on the interior of the property, which allows for a safe and inclusive area for various activities
  • There will be a pathway around the exterior, which is both aesthetically pleasing and provides a stable walkway regardless of the weather
  • The school will be built of concrete masonry units upon a concrete foundation. The walls will be plastered and painted.
  • Large windows will be placed as to maximize natural lighting and ventilation.
  • There will be exterior steel staircases located on the sides of each building to allow access to the second floor.
  • The roof will be a reinforced concrete slab and will have a slight slope to allow the capture and drainage of rain water.

We are also currently working on incorporating renewable energy sources and sustainable resource management technology into the building as well.

Our field team has also been working wonders in the past three months! The job of the field team is to manage the on-the-ground effectiveness and sustainability of the school construction project.  We have been: 

  • working on an Operations and Maintenance manual for upkeep of the school
  • developing lesson plans for the ROP students to teach them about structural engineering
  • leading cultural education events for EWB students at CU Boulder
  • facilitating a semester-long Kinyarwanda (the local Rwandan language) course for all of our members

Over the next few months, we will be working on several important things, such as:

  • developing a method to measure the success of our project in the community
  • holding workshops for winter travelers on skills necessary for success in Rwanda
  • preparing for the first construction trip
  • and, most importantly, fundraising!

We are very excited about our design and cultural exchange! But we need your help to get us there! We are very grateful for your continued support through GlobalGiving, and once again would like to take the time to thank you.

Please feel free send any questions or comments to, and make sure to check our website at!


EWB-CU Team Rwanda

Sonya and Andrew from EWB-CU survey the new land
Sonya and Andrew from EWB-CU survey the new land

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Muraho! The University of Colorado’s Engineers Without Borders student team just returned from our summer in Rwanda! Since the end of May, the team has been in Rwanda working hand in hand with the staff at the Rwandan Orphans Project (ROP) to make their dream of a new primary school a reality.

The trip was incredibly successful! We met with various engineers and architects in country to learn about standard building policies in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. A land survey and geotechnical analysis of the ROP’s new land plot were completed with the help of the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. We presented the ROP with a map of their new land, which they used to start planning the layout of the new facilities.

The EWB-CU team also established very strong relationships with the community that this new school will be serving in Kigali. We took part in umuganda, Rwanda’s mandatory monthly community service day, in the neighborhood where the school will be built. Using hoes and machetes we and our new friends cleared a brand new road! After the work was done, we introduced ourselves and our project to the families living near the construction site. The leader of the umudugudu, the equivalent of a neighborhood, and the executive director of the sector pledged support in the construction of the school. In fact, the surrounding neighborhoods promised to provide labor to lower the cost of the building!

Whenever we were not in meetings, touring construction sites, or sourcing local materials around Kigali, we spent our time hanging out with the boys at the Rwandan Orphans Project’s current center. The boys are incredibly talented! Recently, a volunteer capoeira teacher has worked with the children to hone their gymnastic skills, when they aren’t playing soccer of course!

One of the greatest things about the children at the ROP is their commitment to education. Each of them studies incredibly hard, not because they are required to, but because they truly enjoy learning and recognize the power of knowledge. The boys loved to talk to us about their futures. With bright eyes they told us about going to university, becoming a teacher or an electrician or a mayor.

After returning from Rwanda, the EWB-CU team is more excited than ever to work with the Rwandan Orphans Project to build a new school. With the information we gathered while in country, the team is now working on the design of this new 12 room school house. The design is to be finalized by October in order to return to Rwanda to lay the foundation in January.

Check out our trip blog for more stories from this summer at

We are still in the process of raising funds for the construction of this school, and your continued support of our mission through GlobalGiving is greatly appreciated. Please don't hesitate to send us questions, comments, or concerns at our email address; We really love hearing from our followers so please be in touch. Also, if you missed any of the action, check out our recently updated our team website:


EWB-CU Team Rwanda

BJ spends time with children at the worksite
BJ spends time with children at the worksite
Working with the ROP staff on the new map
Working with the ROP staff on the new map
Dance time during school at the ROP!
Dance time during school at the ROP!


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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Project Leader

Andrew Nelson

Boulder, CO United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Catch-Up School for Rwandan Orphans Project