Spotlight: Engineers Without Borders, BPHC Chapter
“Building a better world, one community at a time.”
While our bustling campus activity is enough to preoccupy most, one group of individuals manage to donate their time to worthy causes off-campus. Engineers Without Borders, an international NGO, has 45 regional chapters around the world, one of which is right here at BPHC.
Heavily involved in development work, EWB takes a hands-on approach towards solving social issues. They combine a love for engineering with civic responsibility and work to solves issues caused by poverty and inadequate resource distribution. Long term planning is key to the solutions they offer.
The BPHC chapter, founded last year on January 14, consists of 60-odd members as of now. They meet once a week to discuss their agenda and spend an average of 3 to 4 hours a week working for the organization. Although relatively new, our chapter of EWB has already made quite an impact on the local community.
Last year, they worked to help the residents of Mudfort Basti, one of the largest slums in Hyderabad. The government had absolved itself of any responsibility for the area, leaving a population of 1900 destitute and in need of even the most basic of resources such as electricity and sanitation.
EWB took up initiative where others had failed.
To address the urgent power issue, they negotiated with DuPont and Thrive Solar Energy Pvt Lt. to make cheap light sources available for homes. Simultaneously, they worked on developing a 3-component solar light cheap enough to be widely distributed in the Basti. They ultimately succeeded in bringing light resources to over 200 families and helped around 1000 people in the process.
This year, they have bigger plans. Our campus chapter of EWB plans to adopt Majidpur, a nearby village in Shamirpet Mandal, about 10km away from campus. The village suffers from a general lack of sanitation and proper waste management, not to mention a shortage of drinking water supply. EWB hopes to address these issues and has already begun a preliminary survey of the village.
In addition to these efforts, they are also actively involved in educating children about sustainable energy habits. Teaming up with Green Energy Solutions & Thrive Solar Energy, they are working towards the goals of the ECMI (Energy Conservation Mission Of India), which include inculcating energy saving habits among youth.
Although the organization has accomplished some very impressive feats, its path has not been without obstacles. The group is facing difficulties with regard to finance, hindering their work. Another issue it faces is the lack of recognition it receives on campus. While generating “publicity” may sound crass, it must promote its achievements in order to be able to recruit the uninitiated.
So what is it that drives these BPHC students to put in so much effort? For most, it’s the satisfaction of directly touching lives. The President of our chapter, Sreeram Potini, shares his experiences. “While working with Engineers Without Borders, I’ve met people from diverse backgrounds. I’ve seen mothers to struggle to feed their children. I’ve seen children without access to drinking water. I’ve seen families living in the space of one hostel room. But you’ll know you’re creating positive change through your work, and that gives you mental peace.”