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DMU students use degree skills to help disabled children in India


Students and staff have flown to India to discover how they can put their skills into practice helping communities in one of the country’s biggest states.

A team led by Nick Rowan of DMU Product Design are due to arrive in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, tomorrow (6 April) where they will begin work on a project to design useful aids for disabled children.

DMU India inset 3

Meanwhile David Boyden, deputy director of DMU’s Centre for English Language Learning, is to meet with teachers to discuss ways in which the university can support English lessons in local schools.

The visit is all part of DMU Square Mile India, a new project set up to support a slum area called Ramapir No Tekro in Ahmedabad. It aims to use the talents of students and draw upon the research and academic expertise of staff to make a tangible difference to the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable families.

More than 200 skilled students will travel out to help people needing treatment for eyesight and hearing problems, and to use art, education and psychology training to improve community life.

In this first trip Nick Rowan, senior lecturer in DMU’s School of Design, will be joined by five Product Design students. He has years of experience in working with disabled people and disability charities on inclusive designs which can make a real difference to people’s lives.

The group will be based at a children’s home in the Gandhi Ashram, where 120 children from the neighbouring slum live.

Nick said: “The ashram is for the most disadvantaged children, and their life prospects are not good. I’m very keen that the work we do is in consultation with users, we can find out what they need and work with them on possible solutions.”

Students were also looking forward to the experience. Alex Walters, second year Product Design student, said: "I'm looking forward to learning stuff we wouldn't necessarily be able to in the UK - this is an experience we just wouldn't normally get."

students and luggage
Early start: The students ready to start their journey at 4am

Harris Priest, a second year Furniture Design student, added: "It's going to be an amazing opportunity to learn something new and be able to help people while we're there."

Square Mile India combines DMU’s sector-leading international experience programme #DMUglobal and its award-winning Square Mile community outreach project in Leicester.   

DMU has set up a charitable sponsorship scheme, Square Mile India Fund, to support the home. Donations can be from £2 a month and will go towards providing books, clothing, medicine and equipment. To find out more click here.

Posted on Tuesday 5th April 2016

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