A group of Arup young engineers have helped Project Little Dream (PLD), a Hong Kong-based charity group, to establish a school in Thnouh Village, one of the poorest areas in southern Cambodia.
School is a luxury to the villagers. As there is no public school in the vicinity, of the 182 families there, only 20% of the children aged between 6 and 17 are attending school. Hence, building this school can be a catalyst for community development.
Led by architectural students and graduates, PLD built a primary school there in 2013. Arup has been involved since 2014, helping design and build the additional library, kindergarten and a courtyard comprising an outdoor playground. Our pro-bono support also helped provide a latrine and a rainwater harvesting system. All facilities were completed in April this year.
Our multidisciplinary team of engineers from the structural, geotechnical, MEP and sustainability groups have been working closely with the charity. Our global timber specialists were consulted because it is a mainly timber structure, and the plumbing and drainage system was optimised for the local environment.
With the lack of electricity supply to the village, our sustainability team maximised the use of natural daylight and ventilation in the design, with its waterproofness tested as well. Advice on materials for the envelope and lighting system was also provided.
Long term benefits
The aim of this project goes beyond simply building a school. The construction involved local craftsmen whose methods can be passed on locally. The courtyard and rainwater system within the school will also provide secure access to clean water for the local community. Last but not least, the village now has its own library, which is open to the public and in the long-term it will transfer knowledge and function as a meeting point for the community. All of these are the lasting benefits
This experience broadened my horizon and allowed me to ‘shape a better self’ for knowing how to cherish what I have and the importance of giving back with what I know.Rebecca Kwan
We are grateful to give a humble hand on this meaningful project, as education can provide knowledge and skills for the underprivileged children to build up their own future.Mark Cheng and Tony Wong
It was really rewarding and inspiring to work with local workers who use limited resources and tools to build up the elegant structure.Chris Qian