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Re:Build System Focuses on Refugee Education

 Build Rebuilds Refugee Education from the Ground Up
One of the main priorities for families living in refugee camps in the Middle East is the education of their children. Architects, nonprofit organizations, and a scaffolding company have teamed up to create the Re:Build construction system, a project that creates low-cost durable buildings built of readily available resources such as sand and soil. The buildings, which are planned to house schools, are easily set up and can be transported to other locations.

Children consist of a large proportion of refugees from Syria, and many of them have been out of school for several years. Building schools and providing them with education provides them with vast opportunities and empowers them to create their futures for themselves.

In order to better refugee education, these mobile, easily constructed schools can be expanded by adding extra modules, built by the refugees themselves, use sustainable materials that are locally and widely available, are weatherproof even in areas with seismic activity, and are designed with their communities in mind.

How do these systems work? They use wall frames filled with natural materials such as sand, gravel, or stones. The roof frame is topped with soil to provide insulation and a fertile place for micro-crops to grow. The structures have structures to reroute rainwater, come with solar panels, and have plywood flooring.

The Re:Build construction system was designed and implemented by architects Cameron Sinclair and Pouya Khaezli, nonprofits Save the Children and Relief International, and scaffold company Pilosio Building Peace. Together, they have constructed two schools in Jordan: one at Za’atari camp and another at Queen Rania Park in Amman. The Za’atari camp is the Middle East’s largest refugee camp which has now been existence for three years.

They are not only cost-effective but also mobile–they do not require construction crews to set up. According to Sinclair, many parents of the school’s new students helped construct the building. The cost of each school is still quite high – $30,000 each – but with crowdsourcing campaigns and local nonprofit donations, these schools are beginning to effect great changes for the children who use them.

In times of conflict, when many people feel as though they have no control over their situations and destinies, education can serve as an anchor for the heart.

“We victimize refugees by treating them as second-class citizens instead of understanding that they are some of the most resilient and hardworking people on the planet, said Sinclair. “By engaging the refugees as paid laborers ensures that they once again feel in charge of their own destiny and leave with the skills to reassemble the school back in their home country.”

Jenny Wheeler

Sources: Huffington Post, “Building the Peace” Award
Photo: Flickr