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Rubona Community Project

January 16, 2012 1 comment

A Creative Partnership between Edirisa UK, the Rubona Community and Uganda Martyrs University

As a charity working in Uganda there’s nothing more satisfying than watching competent local partners take charge of a project. Of course we love to be at the heart of what we do, but it is so much better to see local people taking ownership of Edirisa initiatives. That’s why we’re so delighted to be working with the faculty of the Built Environment (FOBE) at Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) on the Rubona Community Project. The women in Rubona have always impressed us with their hard-working attitude, constantly searching for innovative new ways to help improve their livelihoods and now we’re also delighted to see young, Ugandan, aspiring architects helping this community. After two visits to Rubona village and many late nights in the studio, the students at UMU presented Edirisa with an impressive portfolio of designs.

Orphanage

Orphanage

Their work was fantastic. They had given us a whole landscape focused around playfulness and creativity. The crafts group at Rubona currently support 22 local orphans in very poor housing so the students made accommodation a priority, giving us the option of a “nuclear family” structure or a dormitory. One thing that really captured our imaginations was that the designs sought – in a prospective plan for 40 orphans – to ensure a semblance of private space for the children and create the feeling of a “home” rather than an institution. Other focuses included a Nursery School (our current nursery functions out of the church) and of course a beautiful crafts workshop as crafts are the glue holding this project together.
Orphanage Unit

Orphanage Unit

Perhaps the most striking thing about the presentations was that the students had really taken this project into their hearts and given us 100%. They had carefully considered what the children at Rubona would need day-to-day: a relaxing environment for rehabilitation, buildings and landscapes that will encourage playfulness after trauma and sustainable solutions that will help the community maintain the buildings.

The concept for involving architecture students in this type of work comes from visiting scholar Marga Jann, who believes that universities house some of the best creative minds in the country and should use them to help the community. She asks the question “why should students be designing a conceptual building in New York that will never be built when they could be helping their communities with their designs?” It’s a great premise and after a successful first semester of work we’re excited to see this project progress next year.

Crafts Workshop

Crafts Workshop

More details and plans will be posted on our website soon so watch this space!

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