Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

From Winnipeg to Borama

U of M students design mental hospital in Eastern Africa

  • Print
Jason Shields, 28, is one of the 11 master’s of interior design students who developed conceptual designs for a new mental hospital in Somaliland.

STEPH CROSIER Enlarge Image

Jason Shields, 28, is one of the 11 master’s of interior design students who developed conceptual designs for a new mental hospital in Somaliland. Photo Store

Interior design graduate students are helping to build a Somaliland city’s first mental health hospital.

Working with Architects without Borders (AWB) Canada, 11 University of Manitoba grad students, working in groups of two or three, have developed early concepts for the future Regional Mental Hospital, which will be constructed in Borama, Somaliland.

Jason Shields, 28, is a first-year master’s student who worked on the project with his partner, Umid Abdullaev. He said it’s great that the projects won’t be simply forgotten after submission.
"It’s almost just beginning now," said Shields, who put countless hours of work into the project. "The hard part was designing it all, but now that it’s been passed off to AWB, now we know that they will be going through all of the work."

AWB, made up of experienced volunteer architects, will go through the five projects and pick and choose elements to include in the final concept. That concept will then be provided to the Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar Foundation.

The foundation approached Kelley Beaverford, executive director of AWB Canada and associate professor in the department of interior design at the U of M, for her experience with AWB and her work in other African countries.

"The AWB, most of us are based in Manitoba, and we’re not a design firm," Beaverford said. "We help put together a strategy for the non-profit to get to where they need to be."

The foundation, formerly the Horn of Africa Sick Children’s Charity, provides financial and technical support to the Regional Mental Hospital, which Beaverford said will hopefully be completed in late 2014. Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar was a Borama-born psychiatrist who moved to Canada in 1984 but continued humanitarian visits to his home country to help the mentally ill and to train medical student in Amoud University and the University of Hargeisa. Jowhar was killed in a car crash in 2012.

"(The students) are so focused and they work so hard," Beaverford said. "While they are learning they are also producing really important documents that now AWB and the Jowhar Foundation can now use in implementation of the real project."

Shields said the most interesting part of the project was researching and understanding the cultural differences and how they need to be taken into account when building the hospital.

"I’d say 90% of us weren’t adapted to design a lot for a completely different climate like that," Shields said. "Especially one that is constantly hot and wouldn’t have the resources for expensive air conditioning systems or energy systems."

Beaverford said the need for a mental health hospital is great in both Somaliland and Somalia.
"Both countries were quite unstable for quite some time and that led to some major mental health issues," Beaverford said. "Schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse . . . part of it has to do with the lack of existing mental health care in place.

"In the last decade or more (the countries have) had man-made and natural disasters, they’ve had floods, famine, war, and when you couple that with a lack of mental health care — here we would have treatment, but there this will only be the third hospital in all of Somaliland."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

This Just In Twitter bird

Readers‘ Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

Make your choice in the Canstar Community News‘ Best of Winnipeg Readers‘ Choice Awards

Vote Now

Poll

Do you think cameras should be allowed in Manitoba courtrooms?

View Results

View Related Story