August Meeting Updates

Here are the updates from the monthly meeting on August 8, 2013.

ABx 2013 : John updated the group on some new ideas for the structure at ABx 2013. We are still exploring the idea of a Wiki House and a different version of the bamboo dome we had at the expo last year. We will need a lot of volunteers to set up, tear down and manage the booth during the event. Get in touch if you are interested in volunteering.

Renovate for Recovery : We are working with the City of Boston and the BSA to provide renovations for the victims of the Boston marathon bombings to help them adapt better to their new lifestyles. Mike Mc hugh is spearheading a team. Since all materials and services are provided pro bono and there are a lot of agencies involved in the process, progress is slower than expected.

La Alianza Hispana, Boston : We are still on hold on this project. La Alianza Hispana is a community-based non-profit that serves the areas of Dorchester, Roxbury and Matappan. They are looking to expand their adult education services and expand into an adjacent unused fire house. The organization recently had some personnel change and we are waiting to get direction from the new rep.

Union Art Center, Somerville : We started working on this project as a spinoff of the La Alianza Hispana Project. This is currently a large open studio space in Union Square Somerville that is being used as Artists studios. The idea is to develop the space into a facility that can conduct art classes for kids, house community spaces for public events and some other programmatic requirements.

Plateau Central Vocational School : Ryan, who is getting ready for his upcoming visit to Haiti was at the meeting to tell us that his team was going to meet with some local Architecture for humanity volunteers to see if they can provide some insight into the local methods and techniques. The team is also going to try to get some accurate site measurements and idea of the lay of the land to get into the design development phase.

Some background about this project : We are working with a Boston-based non-profit organization called OSDPC, who have been working in Haiti for about 10 years. The idea for a vocational school started after Haiti was outsourcing a lot of the rebuilding work after the earthquake. The  idea is to provide the required technical training to develop a skilled labor force in the Hiench area (2 hours outside of Port Au Prince) to respond to the local market needs of the area and surrounding communities .  We earlier worked with a studio class led by Peter Temple at Keene State College to develop conceptual drawings that OSDPC used for fundraising earlier this year. This was a great collaboration with great participation and interaction between the designers and architects at AfHB, the students at Keene State College and the representatives from OSDPC.

SEPALI Textile Center, Madagascar : The Sepali project is progressing steadily. We have regular meetings in Davis Square every Monday evening at 6.30 PM to discuss progress and next steps. We are in the design development stage, having solved some of the problems that were brought up by the members of the board from an earlier presentation. We are now working simultaneously on developing the design and resolving technical issues. We are also working on meeting with someone from an organization that has worked on building projects in Africa, which should be helpful to us in making design and detail decisions.

Project Refuge : We are officially out of summer break and are working on new ideas for fundraising and spread awareness about the slavery issue in Nepal. We welcome volunteers who have experience in non-profit fundraising, marketing and branding; along with anyone who has a great idea and wants to share !

Our next meeting is on September 12th at 290 Congress St at 6.30 PM. We should have some updates on the Haiti project site visit and some more progress updates on the Sepali project.