Project #10404

Catch-Up School for Rwandan Orphans Project

by Engineers Without Borders - Boulder
Jul 27, 2012

Summer 2012 Rwanda Trip Summary

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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Project Leader:
Andrew Nelson
Boulder, CO United States

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