A home is much more than four walls and a roof. It can affect livelihood, physical and personal health and educational development. In Malaysia 82% of indigenous people are in need of housing aid.
Engineering students from the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) spent 3 weeks in September at Taylors University School of Engineering in Malaysia, working with students from Taylor's University and the EPIC Homes Charity, which is focussed on providing family homes to underprivileged Malaysians.
The Students - Zeyad Khan, Oheen Hossain, Naomi Randall, Hamzah Sheikh, Grace Hayward, Nikeeta Mehta, Jessica Greenwood, Mathew Wilkes, Andrew Worden, Joshua Stone, Emma Culverhouse and Melissa Mannan - designed and built prototypes for sustainable technologies to go into the homes.
This wasn't a straightforward academic project. Students were required to fund their work by crowdsourcing prior to the trip and acquire multidisciplinary skills to realise their prototypes - a mains water supply filter, a solar cooker, an electricity generating water mill, and a water bottle filter.
The University of Birmingham – Taylor’s University Summer School was a huge success - the students had a great time and learned a lot.
Dr Steve Quigley, EPS Director of Education.
The students also assisted in the actual house build in the town of Gopeng, Perak for a family from the Orang Asli, an indigenous minority people of Peninsular Malaysia. Zeyad Khan reflected "… the 3 weeks we spent in Malaysia were the most beneficial and enjoyable weeks of my life. I learnt so much ... We got to meet some amazing people and found out more about another culture, but more importantly we got to build a house for a family of 5 and that was a very humbling and rewarding experience."
During their time in Malaysia, EPS students attended Taylor’s University classes in general engineering design practice, computer aided design and manufacturing. They also took part in a Malaysia cultural programme.
Student Joshua Stone praised the Malaysian student's hospitality "Working alongside Taylor’s university students was a fantastic way to experience first-hand a new, interesting and exciting culture and to try some amazing food!".
The project was supervised by Dr Veena Doshi who praised the student's hard work "for a group of first and second year students to accomplish crowd-funding is impressive. Students have not only had the opportunity to have a hands on experience but also explore entrepreneurship".
Dr Neil Cooke said:
The multidisciplinary and real-world aspects of this project provided us with lessons learned for bringing disciplines together as we move towards greater integration of STEM teaching in the Central Teaching Laboratory.
Future summer schools with Taylor's are planned. EPS students should await further announcements