Completed Projects


Since 1998, Builders Without Borders has been involved in over 50 projects in over ten countries around the globe.

FEATURED CANADIAN PROJECTS:

VANCOUVER: Aboriginal Mothers Centre – Design and Construction

FEATURED INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS:

ALGERIA: Earthquake – Inspection and Mitigation Assessment

GHANA: Neuroscience Centre of Excellence – Architectural Plan

INDIA: Healthcare and Child Development Centres – Plan and Construction

LAOS: Bolaven Sustainable Farm and Village – Land Use Plan

THE MALDIVES: Waste Management and Recycling System – Environmental Assessment and Operational Support

PAKISTAN: Siran Valley Region School Reconstruction – Inspection and Construction Recommendations

SRI LANKA: Community Resource Centre for Women – Medical Clinic Construction

SRI LANKA: 64-Unit Apartment Housing – Plan and Design

SRI LANKA: Local Industry and Women Construction Training

TURKEY: Women’s Centres – Carpentry, Handicraft and Business Skills Development


CANADIAN PROJECTS

VANCOUVER: Aboriginal Mothers Centre – Design and Construction
Vancouver, BC (2008-2011)

Construction renovations of the Aboriginal Mothers Centre

Aboriginal Mothers Centre Building, Vancouver, B.C.

The repression of and violence against Aboriginal women and their children has become not only one of the defining issues of our time, but also one of the greatest human rights violations in Canada’s history. The number of Indigenous children taken from families by child welfare authorities exceeds the number taken at the height of the residential school era. Today, more than half the children in BC government care are Aboriginal. As with residential schools, breaking Aboriginal families apart has had devastating consequences.  The Aboriginal Mother Centre Society (AMCS) and programs are dedicated to moving these mothers and children at risk off the streets, to provide all the support, tools and resources a mother needs to rebuild her health, self-esteem and skills to regain and retain her children.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

In 2008, BWB was one of eight partners who assisted the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society acquire a 30,000 ft2 building in the east end of Vancouver, BC, and raise $7.5 million for renovations. For the next 4-years, BWB provided construction expertise in the building design and reconstruction. Project partners included the Aboriginal Mother Centre, BC Housing, the BC Real Estate Foundation, Building Community Society, Luma Native Housing Society, Streetohome Society and the General Contractor Heatherbrae Building Company, who solicited donations from the construction trades working on the project and who themselves generously donated $250,000.

Our Impact

The Aboriginal Mothers Centre (AMC) opened in December 2011 to provide “transitional” shelter, support, and programs for women and their children. It supports at-risk Aboriginal women living downtown, and the marginalized women in the neighbourhood. The centre includes 16 transitional housing suites, a 25 space licensed daycare, a food bank program, a thrift store, a community drop-in living room, a community kitchen, and on-site programming for Aboriginal mothers. AMC programming includes counselling, education, life skills training, and social support in the spiritual, physical, and emotional health of families. The centre also operates the Mama's Wall Street Studio, a business and social enterprise that produces and sells scarves, blankets, and bags designed by Aboriginal peoples. It provides jobs for mothers in need of transitional work opportunities and at the same time produces revenue to assist the operations of the AMC.

The unique aspect of this project is that it represents an important shift in Canada’s approach to improving the situation for those at-risk in Vancouver’s downtown east side. As a direct result, the centre:

  • Provides a culturally supportive environment for Aboriginal mothers to gain control of their lives and wellbeing and improve life prospects of their children.
  • Empowers a healthy mother to support the next generation of young mothers and children.
  • Serves approximately 60 children each year, thereby reducing BC government costs for these children by $3 million over a six-year period.

INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS

ALGERIA: Earthquake – Inspection and Mitigation Assessment
Algiers, Algeria (2003-2004)

2003 Algiers multi-story earthquake-damaged apartments

BWB Team advises on structural changes following the 2003 Algiers earthquake

In 2003, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook Algeria causing damage in five North Central provinces. The earthquake resulted in 2,276 deaths and 11,000 injuries, while 100,000 people were left homeless. Most six-story concrete buildings experienced heavy damage or total collapse. The Algerian government’s Building Department had little seismic design experience, and required help in identifying the reason behind the damaged buildings. They requested the Canadian Embassy in Algeria’s help to identify seismic engineering specialists to assist.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

The Canadian Embassy contacted Industry Canada, who subsequently contacted Builders Without Borders.  BWB recruited seismic/structural engineers to work with the Algerian Government and evaluate the earthquake damaged six-story buildings.  The BWB team identified a lack of structural elements in the lower floors as being the primary factor causing the building failures.  BWB also recommended an alternate building system, a reinforced hollow concrete block system, which at that time was used widely in North American seismic zones however not in Algeria.

Our Impact

At the Algerian government’s request, BWB prepared a paper and proposed structural changes to the design of six-story buildings. The changes proposed included the introduction of additional structural elements in the lower floors to make the buildings stronger and more resistant to earthquake forces. These design changes were presented at an Algerian 2004 conference. As a result, the Algerian Construction Research Institute studied this design feature and introduced it into their building code, thereby improving the safety of buildings and mitigating the impact of future earthquakes.


GHANA: Neuroscience Centre of Excellence – Architectural Plan
Accra, Ghana (2008) – A Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation Project

Artists rendition of the Accra Neuroscience Centre of Excellence, Ghana

BWB’s partner in the project

In 2008, the proposed 60-bed Neuroscience Centre of Excellence was to be located at the Korle-Bu Hospital in Accra.  It was intended to be the first neurosurgical centre in Ghana and all of West Africa. The Centre would consist of a three-story hospital building, a small nurse’s residence, and the visiting specialist’s residence.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

BWB engaged the Architectural firm Hughes Condon Mahler, and with professional input from the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation completed the architectural design and schematic drawings as well as construction cost estimates.  The Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation continues to send medical equipment and supplies to the Accra hospital and is raising funds for the Neuroscience Centre of Excellence.

Our Impact

After completion of the design and construction estimates, the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation was unfortunately unable to secure funding for the Neuroscience Centre of Excellence. The Foundation re-evaluated and changed direction, with the belief that the best way to service neuroscience requirements was to engage individual hospitals and provide services and various resources.  Today, neuroscience services are provided out of Connaught Hospital Freetown in Sierra Leone, Techiman Hospital in Ghana, and Tappita Hospital in Libya.  Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation continues to provide shipping containers and supplier to these hospitals.

Although the centre was not constructed in the end, BWB believes its commitment and quality of work with the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation was a success and is open to future opportunities of support.


INDIA: Healthcare and Child Development Centres – Plan and Construction
Gujarat State, India (2001-2002) – A Save the Children Project

One of the 145 Child Development Centres designed by BWB, Gujurat India

Two storey medical center with the clinic below and the nurses’ residence above

In 2001 Gujarat India suffered a devastating earthquake that levelled many existing health clinics and childcare facilities primarily in the Kutch District. Tens of thousands of children and adults were left without proper medical and child care. Following the earthquake, Save the Children Canada and Save the Children UK elected to rebuild 155 destroyed ‘Anganwaddies’, or Child Development Centres (CDCs) in 80 villages across rural Kutch District. Each centre consisted of a 450 ft2 public building where mothers could take their children for nutritional and health education, a daily meal, and food supplies. Beyond CDCs, construction included an additional 16 health centers made up of dispensaries and medical clinics for children and families.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

BWB partnered with Save the Children over a period of 18 months and provided three engineers to prepare a redevelopment strategy for 145 CDCs and the 16 primary and secondary health centers. BWB worked with each village, assessing the damaged CDCs and health centers and proposed new and more appropriate sites, respecting the local cultural, cast, and engineering conditions. The BWB team recruited local architects to prepare designs, as well as local contractors, and supervised the tendering, design, and construction of the buildings.

Our Impact

As a result of BWB’s involvement, the CDCs and health centers now meet international health standards and are better able to withstand future seismic and cataclysmic events. The local government heralds the buildings as models for others to follow. Today the CDCs and health centers are serving 200,000 families while improving the health and nutrition of children and families.


LAOS: Bolaven Sustainable Farm and Village – Land Use Plan
Pakxe, Bolaven Plateau, Laos (2009)

BWB Team surveying the Bolaven Plateau village and farm site

Housing construction for Bolaven families

In rural Laos, housing for farm workers has traditionally been inadequate and temporary, with the migrant workers having little or no access to medical or educational support in the community.  Sam Say, a Canadian Lao expatriate, purchased 160 hectares of land on the Bolaven Plateau, with the vision of a sustainable coffee plantation, village and farm where Lao employees are empowered with knowledge, skills, training and technology to prosper.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

BWB partnered with Sam Say, the Bolaven Coffee Farm owner, who wanted workers to own coffee farm property.  BWB surveyed the property and developed a land-use plan for the village and farm, including housing sites, farm plots and designs for a typical family house.  BWB also contributed the design of the wood frame homes within the village, and proposed the design of a new bridge connecting the farm to neighbouring villages.

Our Impact

Longer-term stable community housing was a direct result of BWB’s involvement.  Construction of the homes and land plots provided farm workers income stability, long-term health and education opportunities.  This in turn provided employee commitments to the community.

Today, families live on this developmental farm for a two-year term.  Their accommodations and meals are provided, they receive medical attention, their children receive an education, and the families are trained in integrated farming and coffee growing. The coffee is roasted and packaged in Laos, providing more jobs, and is then sold directly to North American households.  After their two-year term, Sam Say matches the money the families have saved, providing incentive for them to start their own farms with the knowledge and skills they have gained.


THE MALDIVES: Waste Management and Recycling System – Environmental Assessment and Operational Support
The Maldives (2005-2006)

Maldives tsunami destruction and cleanup crew

Recycling bays at a waste management centre

In December 2004, a devastating tsunami hit the Maldives, a chain of 1,200 islands off the tip of India. Widespread flooding damage contaminated drinking water, ruined sewage systems, damaged homes, and the 200 inhabited islands were left with debris and garbage spread all over. In 2005, the Australian and Canadian Red Cross joined together to clean up the waste and to construct waste management and recycling centres on the most affected inhabited islands.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

BWB worked with the Canadian Red Cross Society (CRCS) to develop plans to introduce a post-tsunami debris management system, inclusive of household waste. A BWB Waste Management Engineer was recruited to assist CRCS and work with communities and determine the proper locations to build waste management centres.  The BWB engineer spent 12 months on this project and was responsible for conducting environmental assessments, obtaining government approvals, coordinating with local contractors, and developing training and operating plans for the new facilities. 

Our Impact

Local community volunteers were very active in making the project a success, and in improving the nation’s wellbeing.  At the completion of the work, 79 Waste Management Centres were built and 77 communities were trained on proper waste management techniques. 


PAKISTAN: Siran Valley Region School Reconstruction – Inspection and Construction Recommendations
Siran Valley, Pakistan (2006)

BWB Engineer and local partner at the earthquake-collapsed school

Site survey for the school reconstruction

In October 2005, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook Pakistan, leaving 80,000 dead, 100,000 injured, and over two million people homeless.  It ranked among the worst natural disasters in the history of Pakistan and of the Indian subcontinent, causing devastation of villages, schools, transportation and water supplies across the country. Following the earthquake, World Vision Pakistan (WVP) began a recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction initiative to examine the requirements to rebuild 80 schools in the Siran Valley region.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

BWB partnered with WVP in the NW Pakistan region to inspect the extent of school damage, assess reconstruction requirements and recommend safer reconstruction sites. BWB provided a civil engineer and a structural engineer who worked with the village communities and spent three weeks inspecting partially or totally collapsed schools. A report was prepared by BWB that proposed the use of confined brick masonry construction as an appropriate school reconstruction method.

Our Impact

The school reconstruction technique recommended by BWB uses local available materials and provides employment for local masons.  Structures created also are positioned in safer locations and are stronger and less susceptible to damage in future seismic events.


SRI LANKA: Community Resource Centre for Women – Medical Clinic Construction
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka (2008-2009) – An International Centre for Sustainable Cities and Beedie Construction Project

Women’s centre and medical clinic planning meeting with the community, the mayor, medical staff and the Canadian Consulate

The completed medical clinic,with the women’s resource centre located above

Following the 2004 tsunami, the International Centre for Sustainable Cities (ISCS), with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), undertook a 36-month project to develop two community resource centres in the coastal communities of Moratuwa and Matara. The goal was to help local women become involved in the decision making process in their communities by providing them with training and support.  During the planning phase of the Moratuwa Community Resource Centre, women identified an additional need for a medical clinic.  As the needed medical clinic was not in the original budget, BWB approached Beedie Construction in Vancouver who arranged to finance the addition. 

Builders Without Borders Involvement

Prior to development of the medical clinic, BWB participated in project planning and community design workshops with the local women’s group and government officials. During the planning and construction stage, the BWB’s construction manager worked closely with the local architect, engineer, and contractors.  He provided an array of construction expertise including contract preparation, tendering procedures, cost control measures, as well as report preparation during the design, tendering, and construction phases. 

Our Impact

With BWBs support, the Moratuwa Community Resource Centre was successfully constructed with a 1,350 ft2 medical clinic on the ground floor, and a 1,450 ft2 women’s resource centre on the top floor.  This was made possible by extensive community engagement in the design process. This style of community engagement was successfully continued for the second resource Centre constructed in the Matara community.


SRI LANKA: 64-Unit Apartment Housing – Plan and Design
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka (2005-2007) – A Christian Children’s Fund of Canada Project

BWB Engineer advises on the design of the 64-unit apartment housing

BWB Project Engineer-Manager in discussions with stakeholders during construction

The December 2004, a tsunami struck Sri Lanka leaving over 35,000 people dead, and 500,000 people displaced.  Many homes and schools were destroyed, leaving many coastal communities in need of support, including Moratuwa on the west coast. The following year the government banned construction in coastal zones, and resettled coastal families in refugee camps.  In 2005, the government provided land to charitable organizations to build apartments for these displaced families.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

BWB partnered with the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada and the Community Concern Society of Sri Lanka during the planning, design and construction stage of the 64-unit apartment housing project.  This was the first phase of 200 apartments that would provide homes for displaced Sri Lankan families.  BWB undertook the initial needs assessment and the coordination of the public and charitable partners. In particular, BWB experienced engineers coordinated the design and installation of government sewer, water and power services as well as established financial controls for the twelve months of design and construction.

Our Impact

With BWB’s assistance during the first stage 64-unit apartment housing project, the structure and process of government approvals was laid out for the successful completion of the full 200 apartments.  As a result, many displaced Sri Lankan families were provided with safe and comfortable homes.


SRI LANKA: Local Industry and Women Construction Training
Batticaloa and Ampara Region, Sri Lanka (2005-2007) – A World Vision Project

Sri Lanka women learning construction skills from the BWB carpentry instructor

Training and construction of a Sri Lankan family home

The devastating tsunami of December 2004 had a huge impact on many communities in Sri Lanka, especially the east coast towns of Batticaloa and Ampara.  World Vision’s plan was to build 3,360 houses and 63 schools. They needed a partner to help manage this process, and to share modern construction techniques with local contractors and labor crews so they could construct safer homes and schools more efficiently.

Builders Without Borders Involvement

Builders Without Borders was involved in two separate initiatives over this time period.  The first was a capacity building initiative, which involved BWB partnering with the World Vision Tsunami Response Team to increase the construction industry skills within Sri Lankan communities. Three BWB volunteers with carpentry and masonry skills worked with local contractors teaching them new methods of construction that would produce safer and more efficient buildings. This included safety procedures, use of power tools, staging construction work, preassembling wall panels, roof joists, doorframes and windows. The BWB team also conducted the first carpentry workshops for young Sri Lankan women.

The second initiative involved BWB consultants’ participation in inspections of World Vision’s reconstructed schools and community water systems once they were completed.  The inspections were carried out in Sri Lanka’s Eastern regions following a recent peace agreement after twenty years of civil war.  

Our Impact

Capacity building and skills development in the communities is at the heart of every BWB project.  The completion of the trainings resulting in increased carpentry and masonry skills in the communities and participation of women in the development of these skills.  Additionally, BWB successfully completed the inspections of World Vision’s schools and water systems, and developed a report despite interruptions by community lock downs due to risk of artillery fire in the region. The inspections indicated that for the first time, water systems were successfully being monitored and operated by the communities, rather than the government.  As a ‘win’ for the communities, they were effectively collecting money to maintain the systems and make needed repairs.


TURKEY: Women’s Centres – Carpentry, Handicraft and Business Skills Development
Mamara Region, Turkey (1999-2000) – An International Centre for Sustainable Cities Project

BWB’s carpentry instructor teaching women survivors’ construction skills post earthquake

In 1999, a devastating earthquake struck the Marmara region of Turkey causing 30,000 deaths and leaving 200,000 people homeless. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded the International Centre for Sustainable Cities (ICSC) Vancouver, to complete a shelter-assessment mission, and to determine the role for Canada in aiding recovery in this region.  ICSC recommended Canada support six Women’s Centres that had been set up in temporary post earthquake settlements, by the Turkish NGO the Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (FSWW). The identified need was to teach women handicraft and small business skills that could help them earn income to support their families. In researching the project further, ICSC discovered four instructors were needed and culturally, only females could instruct the Turkish women in these rural temporary settlements. 

Builders Without Borders Involvement

BWB recruited four female instructors in this case to teach carpentry, handicrafts, video making and small business skills to the women in the earthquake settlements.

Three BWB women instructors from British Columbia and one from Ontario spent two months in the Mamara temporary settlement camps.  While there, they taught Muslim women trades and skills in carpentry, handicrafts and small business and film to better earn an income and be able to support their families. The woodworking instructor trained the women in making wooden toys and household articles, the crafts instructor showed women how to recycle newsprints into basic writing paper and cards, and the business instructor taught women how to launch an effective small business to market their products.  The final instructor was a filmmaker, who taught the women how to use video as an educational tool and to document projects at the Women’s Centers.

BWB was also asked to research the European Mother Centre International Network (www.mine.cc) and to develop a strategy to create a similar Mother Centre Plan at an existing daycare in Istanbul.  BWB worked with the FSWW to expand the daycare to include a drop-in lounge for mothers, a kitchen and coffee shop, a business centre for mothers to learn computer and office skills, 10 short term accommodation suites for women and an exercise room for mothers.  This mixed-use building had a combination of program areas as well as revenue producing opportunities.

Our Impact

The ICSC found that daycare and micro-enterprise projects made a significant difference in the lives of the Muslim women, and that with improved instruction, these women could earn more to support their families. Turkish Muslim women developed not only marketable skills that would carry them through their lives, but also a sense of self-reliance and self-esteem. Three quotes from different participants include 1) “I’ve gained self esteem through the skills learned in the course, now I feel I could manage on my own if something happened to my husband.”  2) “The time in the carpentry work shop has helped me cope. It is good therapy for me – first time since the earthquake.” 3)  “...we are the pioneers.  We are learning the skills that only men knew before”.

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