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The Dartmouth
June 13, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Undergrads push to build orphanage

Dartmouth students have begun an initiative to build an orphanage in rural Bangladesh, a project inspired by a former engineering major's senior honors thesis.

In his paper, Matt Sueoka '04 demonstrated a need for improved care for Bangladeshi orphans and incorporated his knowledge of engineering in a plan to alleviate the problem.

Sueoka's thesis outlined a building design for an orphanage in rural Bangladesh. The plan proposed the reconstruction of a dilapidated structure in hopes of providing a better home for orphaned children.

Students motivated by Sueoka's work began an informal fundraising campaign after Sueoka's graduation in hopes of making the project a reality, and the Tucker Foundation recently adopted Project Bangladesh in order to help with the fundraising efforts.

Despite the students' previous efforts, the project did not begin to officially materialize until the Tucker Foundation became involved, Natalie Allan '06, an intern for the project, said.

"We are going to raise the money and put it into an actual building project," Allan said. "Tucker is spearheading this campaign and Project Bangladesh is really a sub-group of Tucker."

Allan, a year-long intern with Project Bangladesh, will be working with 10 team captains to raise awareness for the project, organize meetings for interested students and raise the necessary funds for the effort.

While she did not know a great deal about the project before looking into the intern application process this summer, Allan expressed her amazement regarding Sueoka's original vision and Tucker's subsequent endorsement of the plan.

"I have been totally blown away by how great this project is," Allan said. "The fact that the school would actually take it exemplifies exactly why I love Dartmouth."

The bulk of the fundraising for Project Bangladesh will commence during the first week of Winter term. Fundraisers hope to raise $200,000 from students, although the total costs of construction will require approximately $300,000.

If all goes according to plan, building is expected to begin sometime in late 2006. On top of fundraising, the project also hopes to provide manpower to the building process by organizing a Dartmouth-based service trip to help with the orphanage's construction.

Allan said that this goal might be difficult because many complications can arise with a project of this magnitude that would disrupt the building schedule.

"The building process is somewhat tricky because of the monsoon season," Allan said. "There are only two three-month periods when we can actually build."

Student interested in getting involved with Project Bangladesh can attend the kickoff meeting, which will take place on Jan. 9.