After its tremendous success helping with the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina, Architecture for Humanity has announced another program that has the potential to change the face of a community—many communities, in this case—worldwide. Its Open Architecture Challenge asks architects, builders, and designers to pair with a school locally or via internet with partner schools in India or Uganda to create a healthier learning environment for those students.
The program is a response to the World Bank's assertion that putting all children worldwide in school by 2015 will constitute the biggest building project the world has ever undertaken. To meet this goal, ten million new classrooms in 100 countries will need to be constructed.
The process involves a school/architect partnership and a lesson plan for students as well. The program has students learning about architecture and responsible design, developing their own ideas on 3-D computer modeling tools, participating in the design process, and working with professionals in the design profession to essentially build a school. Winning projects are awarded construction funding.
If you are neither architect nor educational professional, you can volunteer to help with outreach.
Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit that uses architecture and its community-building potential to solve humanitarian crises and to help improve communities battling scarcity and conflict.