Students and alumni from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have visited a community in India which is being transformed thanks to the university’s voluntary work in the region.
More than 100 DMU Architecture students are supporting an innovative building project to provide new homes for families in The Loving Community, which is located in one of the poorest areas of Ahmedabad.
Working with construction consultants Pick Everard and local architect Anand Sonecha, the students are flying out to India to help build houses that are able to survive flooding during the annual monsoon season.
A group of around 30 current and former DMU students are in India this week to further the university’s work in Ahmedabad through DMU Square Mile India. They spent the day at The Loving Community to learn about the project and contribute to the ongoing work on the houses.
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The work links directly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a series of global goals to improve life for people around the world. DMU has been chosen by the UN as a ‘designated hub’ for SDG number 16, which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies, justice for all and building inclusive institutions.
Simon Bradbury, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities, provided an update on the project and said that this work is ‘a great example of how DMU makes an impact in the world’.
The group was given a tour of The Loving Community and had the chance to see the completed houses and meet some of the families who are benefiting from DMU’s work.
A recently finished house was inaugurated with a ceremony attended by Geoff Wain, Britain’s Deputy High Commissioner to Ahmedabad.
One of the house’s new residents said that the improvements to her living conditions will change her life.
She said: “My previous house was not as good as this and not very high from the ground level. It’s wonderful to have this house to live in.
“I’m very grateful to all the people who have helped to build the house.”
Deputy High Commissioner Wain said that DMU’s volunteers have had an extremely positive impact on the families who live in this community.
He added: “This is a great example of a partnership between a UK university and the local community and I’m very much looking forward to coming here again and seeing the rest of the programme being developed.”
Students and alumni then had the chance to make their own contribution to the project by making tiles, painting walls, clearing land and planting trees.
Second-year Architecture student Fatima Patel has been working in The Loving Community for the past week and she believes that the work being done by DMU will have massive benefits for the people living there.
She said: “It’s amazing to work on this. I’m from India myself, I’ve been here before, but I’ve never experienced anything like this. It’s heart-warming to see this side of things and the impact that it has on the families.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of the families because I can speak the language and the difference that you can see it makes on them is amazing, I can’t really explain it.
“Such small things that you think you’re doing can have such a big impact on them.”
Posted on Thursday 6th December 2018