Whether livestock runs amok in the yards, rainwater seeps through a leaky roof, or an entire family sleeps crammed together in one room, the physical structure of many homes in rural Honduras creates an unhealthy living environment for community members. Due to their surroundings, family members face additional risks to both their physical and mental health. Few community members can build healthier homes, as they lack the necessary resources to construct needed infrastructure. Similarly, while many have various ideas on how to garner more income, they need additional infrastructure to realize these projects.
The Architecture Program thus strives to improve in-home infrastructure and economic production in Global Brigades’ communities by designing and constructing small scale or in-home projects such as chicken coops, roofs, and additional rooms that will enhance community members’ health, their quality-of-life and income. By improving their homes, community members can better prevent disease and maintain a positive mental state. Similarly, families choosing to build infrastructure for economic ventures that can generate more income, which could theoretically be used to independently enhance their living space. These important projects are both designed and built by student volunteers in collaboration with community members on 7 days trips to Honduras, called “Architecture Brigades.”
Students volunteering on Architecture Brigades participate in either infrastructure design or constructions. On the initial Design Brigade, they consult with community members and draft blueprints for the in-home infrastructure or small-scale economic development projects sought by the family. Student volunteers must consider both the availability of local materials and cost-effectiveness given the scarce resources within the community whenever designing new structures. On subsequent Build Brigades, students construct the projects alongside skilled Honduran masons and community members and ultimately create the in-home infrastructure needed to improve health, quality-of-life, and income. Regardless of whether it is a Design Brigade or a Build Brigade, all student volunteers teach community members the construction techniques necessary to maintain the projects and ensure that they will continue to serve local families well into the future.
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