Class of Your Own (COYO), the UK’s pioneering provider of accredited learning programmes for the technical and professional built environment, is looking for UK schools to get involved in their next national Design, Engineer, Construct! (DEC) competition: the Vision Hope School for Parabongo, a village in Northern Uganda.

Working alongside the UK based charity, Seeds for Development (Seeds); COYO’s 2015 challenge aims to get secondary school students across the UK actively involved in designing a new eco-school for children in Parabongo. The new school will provide an education to 1,000 children aged 3-18, and will teach numeracy, literacy, science, technology and engineering – alongside basic life skills such as growing food and personal hygiene.

Entrants will have the chance to use Autodesk Revit to construct their buildings designs – the same software used by industry professionals – and will tackle the challenge of researching and using natural building resources local to Parabongo.

To get involved in COYO’s latest DEC competition, schools across the UK should enter one team of 10 pupils. Each team will be supported by top industry professionals and university students, and will have the entire summer term and into September to work on a unique design. Judging will begin on the 28th September with a series of online semi-final stages, from which three finalist teams will be selected to pitch their ideas to specialist design judges on the 22nd October at the Digital Construction Show in London.

Alison Watson, managing director of Class of Your Own, said: “More than 1.7 million people have been affected by the war in Uganda so to be able to offer pupils in the UK the chance to design a school for the children of Parabongo is really exciting and carries a message of genuine collaborative spirit. Not only will the Vision Hope School project provide support to hundreds of desperate farming families, it will also introduce new skills and learning opportunities to school children right here in the UK.”

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The Vision Hope School for Parabongo has already attracted numerous industry supporters, including Topcon Positioning, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of surveying equipment who recently provided Liverpool John Moores University staff with specialist kit and training to enable them to provide a land survey of the actual site.


David Bennett, Business Manager at Topcon, explains why they have chosen to support the project:

“There’s an enormous skills shortage in the surveying profession, so it’s great that COYO has launched yet another fantastic project to allow pupils to experience and understand the diversity of great careers available to them in the built and natural environment, and hopefully, we’ll inspire the surveyors of the future.”

Seeds began working with local farmers and their families in 2007, at the end of a 20 year civil war which destroyed homes, schools and farming communities in Parabongo. It now supports over 1,600 families and helps to send their children to school, build safer homes and even set up businesses. COYO’s Vision Hope School competition will go a long way to helping the families of Parabongo move towards a happier and more hopeful life.

Schools wanting to take part must register by the 26th June and are asked to contribute a voluntary donation of 50p from every student in the school to help raise funds to build the Vision Hope School. 100 per cent of the money raised will be donated to the Parabongo Vision Hope School project.

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