Texas Impact Design visited the Johnson Nikosi School just outside Kampala, Uganda last week. The school is at the forefront of sustainable farming in an effort to provide entirely for the children economically through agricultural production. In addition, the school also partners with a health clinic that helps educate the local community about HIV/AIDS awareness.
Texas Impact Design is honored to introduce Robin Young-Ellis, without whom none of this would have been possible.
Robin Young-Ellis, a philanthropist, humanitarian and businesswoman, is the founder of RobinYoung & Company, a structured settlement planning firm and founder of Salute to Our Troops Houston. Young-Ellis is the Texas-bred daughter and granddaughter of a military family for whom principles of honor and public service have had a big influence in her life. In 2004, she married Major Joseph R. Ellis, United States Marine Corps (Ret). One of Young-Ellis’ greatest motivations is her dedication to family – both her own and others’.
In 2008, Young-Ellis founded Salute To Our Troops Houston, an event dedicated to honoring the brave men and women of the Armed Forces. Through Young-Ellis’ strategic and successful coordination, the event grew from 500 active duty and reserve military troops and their families to 2300 troops, families, and post-9-11 wounded military heroes. In 2011, by invitation and support of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, Young-Ellis passed on the program to RodeoHouston to help start their first Armed Forces Appreciation Committee, of which Young-Ellis remains active as the committee’s chairman.
This culture of giving and safeguarding runs through the heart of Young-Ellis, reaching globally to East Africa. During her mission travels with Hope 4 Kids International and Water 4 Kids International in the summer of 2010, Young-Ellis adopted the rural village of Bukirayi that supports more than 14,000 villagers. In her recent return to the village this summer of 2011, Young-Ellis, whom the villagers call Moma Taaka (“the harvester”), was honored in the village dedication ceremonies for financially underwriting their village church, latrine, 2-room clinic and water wells. Seeing the need for education that teaches a life not of dependency but rather sustainability, Young-Ellis enlisted the help of Texas Impact Design for the design of a fully sustainable school in her continued support of fostering independence and well being in Uganda.
Texas Impact Design had the honor of presenting projectUganda at the Structures for Inclusion conference this past week in Austin. We saw a lot of great projects and met a lot of great people- thanks everyone for coming out!
We are really excited to announce that we are a semi-finalist in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. You can vote our project and see what other exciting projects are in the works on the DSIC website.
The classroom designs are coming along! A big thanks to everyone who came out to our a review a couple weeks ago!
The No Border School in Burma, designed by Joao Guimaraes and Miguel Magalhaes, has some great sectional qualities.
A big thanks to Madalyn for coming to our last meeting! Madalyn spent four weeks in Uganda last year studying the LRA conflict and provided us with lots of helpful information about everything from diet to lightening.
A lot of the discussion recently has revolved around trying to finesse relationships between different programmatic elements and defining the requirements for each space. We have been trying to discern the ideal classroom size, and the latest number we have settled on is 7.5 x 9m. We are looking at creating a sort of forecourt as a way of establishing a relationship with the village. Community functions such as a general meeting space, the well, and the library will be located near by this entrance sequence.
This week we will be refining the two classroom schemes we’ve decided to move forward with, as well as continuing work on the master plan. We are looking forward to having all the members of Texas Impact Design at our pin-up on Wednesday.
In spring of 2011, Francis Kere visited the School of Architecture at U.T. We had the fortunate opportunity to meet with him during studio. He has gained international recognition for his work building schools in Burkina Faso and central Africa. Kere’s schools often integrate community involvement and economic development with general education facilities.
A video of his lecture can be found here.