Engineering for a cause: Engineers Without Borders
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a worldwide non-profit organisation founded by Bernard Amadei whose objective is to channelize a small part of an engineer’s skills into making a difference in the lives of the underprivileged. Spread over nearly forty five countries, EWB reaches out to various prestigious technical institutes of different countries and invokes students to do their bit for the society through their inventions. The Indian branch of EWB has several chapters across the nation. It has already started to make a huge difference especially in rural India. Projects such as provision of electricity using solar panels, computer labs in government schools, toilets, clean filtered water for drinking purposes, and many others are being undertaken by several colleges including IIT-Delhi, IIT-Madras, and BITS-Hyderabad. One of the latest members of this family is the Manipal Institute of Technology.
The Chairman of the Indian branch of EWB, Dr. Shaukat Ali Mirza, visited the institution to inaugurate the club and present a lecture on the short term and long term goals of the organization with respect to India. He stated that he wanted to give the students some inspiration for their thoughts and actions, which he most definitely did. He opened his speech with the fact that we’re all obsessed with achieving our own goals and that we often forget to give back to the society. He then elaborated on why there is a dire need to digress from such a thought process and think in terms of the betterment of the deprived individuals of the country. He made the students feel responsible for the country they live in and that they ought to have such a strong sense of ownership that they should be urged to give the lesser privileged people what they lack i.e basic amenities like sanitation and education. He also emphasized that the students who take up such initiatives are not required to spend out of their own pockets.
In his words “Money is one matter, and execution is another. The moment you start executing, funds automatically flow in”. He also went on to elaborate on how vast the network of NGOs abroad was and that this is yet to catch on in our country which ironically needs it the most. Of course, he also pointed out how the present education system with its excessive working hours, six-day work days, and tough competition prove to be key factors as to why students are not indulging in more charitable work.
In a nutshell, Dr. Mirza helped bring together the engineering students of various branches on the common grounds that the country needs young, enthusiastic professionals for overall development, right from the grassroot level. Irrespective of the magnitude of this contribution, every engineer’s bit counts and has a multi-fold effect.