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AUS students renovate school in Indonesia
Ten students from the Engineers Without Borders Student Chapter at American University in Sharjah (AUS) travelled to Ubud, Indonesia, to renovate a school for an impoverished community, August 2-8, 2015.
During their stay in Ubud, the students renovated the bathroom facilities of a school and repaired the school library's exterior walls. They did all the manual labor themselves, including removing mold embedded in the walls, breaking down layers of contaminated plaster and cement, scrubbing every surface with industrial strength chlorine, and then reapplying layers of cement and plaster.
"The overall impact of our volunteering experience was big. We made a better school for the children and a better environment for them to learn but that did not stop there. We also set a good example of how a volunteer can be as we did our work with love and passion. We represented our university, individual countries and the Arab world as a whole in the best possible light as we were the first group of Arabs to volunteer there. Leaving behind pride and simply working to make something out of ruins was something appreciated by both the locals and other international volunteers," said Omar Al Jahdami, an Emirati mechanical engineering senior who volunteered on this trip.
Organized under the supervision of the Office of Student Affairs, the initiative was fully sponsored by the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai.
According to Tuqa Khalid, President of the AUS Engineers Without Borders Chapter, "This incredible project was worth all the blood, sweat and tears it took to make it happen. And I am eternally grateful to our sponsors, the Road and Transport Authority in Dubai, who took a chance on me and believed in this project enough to back us completely. They brought my dream to life; they enabled nine other students to experience the true joy of giving back to the international community; they gave the local villagers of Ubud the opportunity to see that they are not insignificant, their struggle is not trivial. RTA gave us the means to reach out to the people of Ubud and help better their children's lives."
Dr. Moza Al Shehhi, Dean of Students, congratulated the students from the Engineers Without Borders Club for achieving their mission. "Our students worked as a team and worked hard under stress and in difficult situations. I am glad that they handled all challenges and achieved positive results. I encourage AUS students to get involved with our volunteering projects and learn from first-hand experiences. This kind of humanitarian project is a good platform for our students to network by working with different levels of people and learning from their experiences and perspectives. The most rewarding part of this experience is the joy of giving and helping less fortunate members of the society," she added.
According to Moaza Al Marri, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Corporate Administrative Support Services Sector, RTA, "RTA's support to this initiative is part of its commitment to serve the local community and the public interest through showcasing the value of volunteering efforts to the rising generations, and inculcating the sense of responsibility in university students who will steer the future development drive of our nation.
In Indonesia, the students coordinated the work with the International Volunteering Headquarters (IVHQ) and the Green Lion Bali organization.