Exploration trip to Jaipur 2018 Engineering educators should engage students to explore the world, creating opportunities for them to learn about the needs of the underprivileged, and acquiring practical work experience in developing solutions with real-world impact.
This reading week, a group of HKU students consisting of two engineering students and two medical students visited Jaipur, India to seek for overseas service opportunities for students at HKU.
During the trip, the group made visits to 2 organizations: Jaipur Foot and Barefoot College, where they’ve conducted interviews and documented the daily operations in attempt to form future partnerships between HKU and the organizations.
Jaipur Foot is the largest prosthesis provider in the world, with more than 16,000 fittings per year. The organization emphasizes its non-discriminatory policy; it is a purely secular, non-religious, non-governmental, non-political, non-sectarian, non-regional institution for helping the physically challenged, particularly the financially weak and underprivileged. Thanks to its open-door policy, people in need may visit at any hour without need for prior appointment, and patients are not turned back unless they require surgery or have unhealed wound. What’s more amazing about the organization is that all services, including the provision of prosthetics itself, are given to the patients free of charge. This is made possible by generous donations from corporates, individuals and the government, as well as their internal strategies opting for low cost designs and high operational efficiency. In fact, the average cost of manufacturing Jaipur Foot’s prosthetic limb is about 60 USD, much lower when compared to other organizations of similar sort, where they are sold for ~10,000 - 15,000 USD.
Potential Student Initiatives @ Jaipur Foot : Making post prosthetic training more accessible
After the prosthetics are fitted, the patients are provided a short term training to help them get adjusted to their prosthetics. Students at HKU (both engineering and medicine) could help make this training more accessible by putting it online / creating an app to assist post amputation training. They could put up the QR code of the webapp / app in the waiting area of the center so that the patients could have access to continued management training and support after they leave the center.
Barefoot College is an NGO that “connects rural communities to solar, water, education, professions and advocacy to help communities and individuals take control of their lives and the wellbeing of their communities”. Barefoot College has different operational units, and some key features of each are summarized below.
Solar Mama Program @ Barefoot College
Officially known as the International Solar Training Program, Solar Mama program is a six-month program conducted twice a year by the Barefoot college in collaboration with the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) - a Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Barefoot college invites over 38 women from different rural villages to teach them how to put together solar panels. Once the participants receive their training, they are equipped with the knowledge and the skill to install and manage solar panels in their own communities. Since their first session in 2008, they have given training to over 1000 participants from 90 different countries.
Students from Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering could assist as instructors for this Solar Mama program, teaching the participants about the physics principles related to power supply & current movements and guiding them through the assembly process of solar panels.
Swasthya Sakhi Project @ Barefoot College
Swasthya Sakhi is a project initiated by a member of the innovation lab at the Barefoot College to facilitate patient care in rural village hospitals. The project aims to replace paper-based medical records with digital records with easy navigation through mobile app and QR code embedded bangles.
HKU CS students and CE students could collaborate with Barefoot College to bring the idea to life using simple database management tools and app development.
Solar Cooker Engineers @ Barefoot College
Society of Women Barefoot Solar Cooker Engineers is an operational unit in the Barefoot college that empowers illiterate and semi-illiterate women to fabricate, install and maintain parabolic solar cookers in their homes. The parabolic solar cooker is constructed from 300 mirrors that reflect the sun’s rays onto the bottom of a cooking pot to cook food quickly and sustainably.
One of the issues they’re facing at the Solar Cooker Engineering unit is that the usage of solar cooker is very limited to certain environmental conditions - outdoors on sunny daytime. There are a few designs of solar cookers online that allow for more flexible usage of the solar cooker, and our students from Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering could do more research into such use cases and suggest a better alternative.
Interdisciplinary teaching team