A Canterbury architecture student has travelled to east Africa to help design and build a school.
Several months ago, Ben Carpenter was contacted on Facebook by the founder and director of a school in the Ugandan district of Kabale. Fruitful Standard Nursery and Primary School, with about 120 pupils, has been evicted from several properties after it was unable to keep up with rising rent.
“The school’s founder, a friend-of-a-friend, was asking for donations,” explained Ben, a third-year student at the University for the Creative Arts.
“When he explained they’re trying to create a new building, I explained I’m an architecture student and would be interested in helping him design something more cost-efficient and easy to build.”
On Wednesday, Ben flew more than 4,000 miles to Uganda to help kick-start the project.
During his fortnight-long trip, he hopes to teach money-saving construction techniques and to erect a building providing four separate classrooms.
“It’s quite a basic building, and it’s just there to provide shelter in the event that their rented accommodation gets taken away and they have nowhere else,” said the 20-year-old.
“Going from that, we will hopefully build a more permanent structure that they’ll want to use as a first resort rather than a last resort.
"The children are all between three and seven, and they also educate a lot of orphan children from the local orphanage. Without any kind of parent support, this school is their only chance of education.
“The only other school they could go to is the other side of the lake, which is completely inaccessible on a day-to-day basis.
“We’re just trying to better the education of the children that go there, and provide a more stable building in which to learn.
“Because the school has no financial backing from the government and the parents aren’t able to provide any financial support, they’re left in a position of instability as far as renting is concerned. It provides a constant worry for children and teachers.
“But they already own this site, so there will be no rent on this structure once it’s built.”
Ben has launched Stable Foundations – an organisation which he hopes will take on similar projects in the future.
Now, he is trying to raise money for the construction of the new school.
He has raised about £450 but estimates he will need at least £1,000 to complete the project. To donate, visit his Gofundme page.