Student project to help Nepalese women takes out national awards

A team of University of Melbourne first year students has taken out two prestigious awards at the national Engineers Without Borders Challenge with a project that aims to improve the lives of women in rural Nepal.

The Melbourne team was awarded both the People’s Chose Award and the BHP Billiton Award for Best Sustainable Design and Community Engagement at the EWB Challenge National Showcase during December.

The winning students were (pictured L-R above) Carmen Verdeyen, Kirstin Clements, Rose O’Leary and Ashley James. Both Carmen and Ashley are in the first year of their Bachelor of Science, on an Engineering pathway, while their teammates Kirstin and Rose are currently studying their Bachelor of Arts.

The team’s project is designed to improve the health and safety of women in developing countries, particularly in Nepal. Women in Nepal have to deal with a number of challenges during menstruation. Some are forced by cultural tradition to segregate themselves from their communities, and live in huts, where their personal safety may be compromised. Others must deal with non-sterile hygiene products, such as discarded cloth, which can cause illness. The Melbourne team designed a TOM (Time of the Month) Box, with the aim of providing women with access to sterile hygiene products.

The Melbourne School of Engineering congratulates the Melbourne EWB Challenge team for taking home these two awards.