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No More Outdoor Toilets - Taiwan Tech Students Help Building Sanitation Facilities in Remote Indonesian Primary School
 
In Indonesia, many remote areas suffer from water shortages, waste water pollution, and problems of public sanitation. With its large number of Indonesian students and close relations with Indonesian universities, many students and professors at Taiwan Tech are aware of Indonesia’s problems. Thus, Taiwan Tech students got engaged in a hands-on community project to improve conditions in remote areas in Indonesia during their summer vacation.  
 
   
Taiwan Tech teams build irrigation facilities in drought-stricken areas in Indonesia. Photo, Taiwan Tech
 
This summer, the second group of 19 Taiwan Tech students from different fields – chemical engineering, electrical engineering, material sciences, and design – went to Indonesia to join hands with students from  Institute of Technology Sepuluh Nopember and Widya Mandala Catholic University. Their aim was to improve water management and sanitary conditions in the outskirts of Surabaya. Taiwan Tech students formed mobile project with local students helping to build irrigation systems, drinking water supply and waste water treatment facilities. They even built toilets at two remote primary schools in Surabaya which greatly improved the hygienic situation for pupils at these schools.   
 
Living and working conditions in those impoverished remote areas are very challenging, and Taiwan Tech students had to cope with all kinds of unforeseen difficulties. Chemical engineering student Wu Min-Chen who helped to install an irrigation system in a drought-stricken area was confronted with shoddy materials and all kinds of logistical problems in his project.  Apart from that, he experienced himself what water shortage meant when he wanted to take a shower, and he even had assist to put out one of the frequent forest fires that afflict the area. 
 
In spite of these hardships, all participants of the project emphasized how valuable the experience in Indonesia had been for them. It was not only a crash course in problem solving and intercultural communication, but most importantly, a precious experience of gaining satisfaction by helping others. 
 
Taiwan tech students help their Indonesia mats to clean a gutter and build a fence to block garbage. Photo, Taiwan Tech   
 
Author: Stefanie Eschenlohr, Office of International Affairs, Taiwan Tech
 
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