Students building boarding house build hope

U of M architecture students building a ‘global community’


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/05/2010 (4776 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A group of architects from the University of Manitoba have just begun a five-week mission to build a better community in Ghana.

Nine students from the university’s faculty of architecture travelled with professor Kelley Beaverford to the African nation on May 4 to participate in a course entitled Service Learning in the Global Community.

The program will provide an opportunity for the students to learn about culture, construction and design while they build a boarding house kitchen, dining hall and study for approximately 60 Ghanaian schoolgirls between the ages of nine and 17.

Andrew Lovatt From left to right: Derrick Finch, Matthew McFetrick, Faith (a local student, Kelley Beaverford, Ms. Lois (headteacher) and Marla Wirasinghe on a previous trip to Uganda.

The U of M contingent will work hand-in-hand with non-profit organizations, local community members, trades people and instructors throughout the construction project.

Beaverford, an associate professor in the department of interior design at the U of M’s faculty of architecture, said this is the fourth time the university has offered the Service Learning in the Global Community to its students.

“The program is really about cross-cultural communication and design in a social context,” said Beaverford, who lives near Corydon Avenue in the Earl Grey area.

“The student will be dealing with social realities while working at heart of a community. We aim to bridge the gap between communities at a global level, as we’ll be collaborating with local people throughout the construction process. It’s a community effort in so many ways.”

Beaverford said various stakeholders in Manitoba have funded the trip, while she’s been touched by numerous tangible donations from local businesses, including tools and seeds.

The students are part of team that will build a boarding house that will increase the size of the school.

“When we build the new building, it means the existing building can be used entirely as a residence for the female students,” Beaverford said, adding this should allow space to double the intake of students, particularly from more isolated rural areas.

Only 54% of girls in rural northern Ghana finish junior high school. They are often burdened with a high workload at home, which prevents them from fulfilling their academic potential.

Beaverford said the program will be an opportunity for both the U of M students and their Ghanese counterparts to connect with each other.

“I hope to bring back a message of reciprocal learning and community partnership back with me from Ghana,” said Beaverford, who is also executive director of Architects Without Borders


Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at or call him at 204-697-7111.

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