Giving back has always been in Rochelle Hartung's DNA, and now she's doing it overseas.
The Airdrie resident recently took her Architectural talents to Africa alongside 12 other like minded individuals from Canada, Asia and the United States.
"Engineering Ministries International (eMi) is a non-profit organization," says Hartung. "It's an organization of architects and engineers that go primarily to the developing world."
Partnering with local organizations, eMi then provides blueprints and drawings for major projects that lots of the non-profits can't afford.
Hartung travelled to Uganda over the summer as an architectural intern from the University of Calgary as eMi partnered with an organization called Chayah Ministries.
"They run a Children's Home in Uganda which rescues kids but primarily girls from vulnerable positions - primarily sexual exploitation, situations where kids are being...sold as child brides and just children in vulnerable situations and give them a home."
After Chaya recently acquired some new land, they hopes of expanding and making more space for the kids including a new school.
"We went over there to do some surveying on the site, the engineers did soil analysis, water analysis and then the architects came up with a preliminary design for each of the individual buildings as well as a master-plan for the entire site."
Shaping a new world for Chaya's Ugandan orphanage, Hartung says it's been a thrill to continue to give back and to a deserving organization.
"I found it a really fulfilling way to volunteer, it's a practical service that they're going to be using for quite some time and it's something where in this case, Cayah didn't have any experience with architecture or engineering, so it was something that we were able to help."
"Volunteering and having a servant heart isn't something that comes form big experiences necessarily all the time, it will be just starting in little ways," says Hartung. "Whether it's just encouraging someone or helping in a more practical way I think that just cultivating that back in your local environment where you are all the time, that can really just help to set the precedent for yourself as having a life that has more significant impact on others and has a bigger legacy."
Chayah has broken down the building of the project into three phases. Construction is set to begin once Hartung and the eMi team finalize the drawings and plans for the buildings which have are expected to be completed by Christmas.
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