Engineering student making a difference in Haiti
University of Manitoba fourth-year Biosystems Engineering student, Andrea Kneale, wanted to help and serve others using her engineering education. This past June she returned from a project trip to Croix des Bouquets, Haiti, where she was able to do just that.
Kneale travelled to Haiti with a team of engineers and architects from across North America who volunteered their time with Engineering Ministries International to design a new orphanage site for Life is Hope Orphanage. Life is Hope Orphanage has been caring for children since 2001. It grew in the days and weeks following the 2010 earthquake and currently cares for 175 children at two orphanage sites, but has had to turn away children because there is simply no more room in the current facilities.
During their week on-site, the volunteers developed concepts for the Life is Hope Orphanage site. Kneale had lots of opportunity to develop her professional skills: “I worked with the senior civil engineers on the project by conducting soil percolation tests, assisting with the site survey, and producing AutoCAD drawings of the site survey and proposed water and waste water systems.” At the end of the week came Kneale’s favourite part of the project trip: presenting the preliminary master plan design to the client ministry. “Seeing their reactions was very touching, and it was really great to see how I can use my engineering education to help others.”
For Kneale, the trip to Haiti is part of a larger experience with Engineering Ministries International. Kneale is currently interning with eMi Canada in Calgary, where she will finish up design work for the Life is Hope Orphanage as the team continues to work on more detailed elements of the design. Engineering Ministries International will provide Life is Hope with a final report and construction details in the coming months.