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Student-Built Medical Center Heading to Uganda

The school is sending its medical center off through Homes of Living Hope.

After months of work on plumbing, lighting, constructing and painting, the medical center created inside a shipping container by students at the is ready to be shipped off to Uganda.

The project was done through the home improvement class, and in connection with Homes of Living Hope, which converts recycled shipping containers into livable and functional structures for needy communities.

"This is a better way of instruction," said Leonard Herman, supervisor for business and industrial technology at the high school. "The bonus is it helps someone."

These containers are turned into clinics, shelters and educational facilities, then put together into quads once they are sent over to Uganda.

In the program's first year at the high school, the about 100 students involved created a medical center, and Herman said they are hoping to move to creating one, or even two, containers to send to Uganda each year.

And with the first project complete, it will be collected by Atlantic Container Line, which donated the container, Friday, and prepared for shipment to Uganda.

Last weekend, students and staff spent about four hours packing medical materials securely into the container, along with books, gardening tools, bicycles and other sporting goods.

"These are things to change their lives," Herman said of the wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, toys and other materials to be shipped to Uganda inside the center.

All of the materials being sent, Herman said, were donated by members of the community and businesses, including the and several girl scout troops.

"No school district funds were spent on this project, aside from what is always given to the program," he said.

And with one center complete, Herman said, they are looking toward next year's project.

Herman said Atlantic Container Line has already agreed to donate another container, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which gave money toward the project this past year, has agreed to donate again.

This coming year, Herman said, they are going to put together a birthing center, with supplies already donated by a local doctor.

"A birthing center is what they need now," he said. "So many children die in Uganda in the birthing process."

Herman said they are hoping to create a nursery and recovery area in the container, plus windows with screens to keep the mosquitos away from the newborns.

"This way they have a better chance of survival," he said.

The extent of what they create will depend on the donations, Herman said, and they are hoping to see support similar to what they had this year, with local businesses and families donating items, and other members of the school district donating time to design a mural and help put everything together.

Meanwhile, the new students coming into the home improvement classes will take on the building of the center itself, complete with plumbing, electricity and all other needs.

"We are looking to do solar panels in the future, and be totally self-contained," Herman said. "I think the kids coming in are excited, and there will be all brand new kids because there is only one level of this class."

And the extent of the work done will depend on the assistance from others.

"It all depends on our resources," Herman said. "It's amazing, and as soon as people hear about the project, they want to get involved."

For more information, visit the program's website through the high school.

James Rokosny August 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM
What a great project. These students and the school should be proud of themselves. You all did a great thing here. Keep up the good work.
Liz Lande August 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I saw this - it is really amazing and wonderful that our community put it together.
Trish Mannion-Smith August 03, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Wow! Bridgewater-Raritan High School students and their home improvement class teacher should be commended! This is exactly what great team work is all about! Those kids will never forget what they were a part of and I guarantee you that there will be kids in that group that will do some amazing things in their future, as a result of this class room work experience! Kudos to the Martinsville Methodist Church, the Homes of Living Group and local girl scout troops for participating! This is amazing!
Grant Tormey August 03, 2012 at 05:03 PM
This is a real accomplishment on many fronts. What's not mentioned in the article is that all district schools (I believe) contributed to this project by collecting donated first aid supplies and other products. This is a project that the whole school community can be proud of and I look forward to more opportunities to do these in the future.
Bart Wear August 03, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Great job by all involved. I've emailed Francis Nyang in Uganda and let him know this gift from the people of your community is on it's way. We'll need some patience as we wait for it to get there but we will be posting updates as they come along to our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Homes-of-Living-Hope/108645222334# Thanks in advance for this generous gift of effort to the people of Northern Uganda.

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