Nairobi Youth Leaders Academy - abc27 WHTM

Nairobi Youth Leaders Academy

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Dreamandbe, the Leaders Academy with Daniels Designing Ecological Tourism Team embark on a journey of development in Kenya and South Africa.

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TORONTO, ON, May 28, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Dreamandbe Sine Qua Non, a non-governmental organization created to empower youth through project focused events, together with the Leaders Academy that fosters leaders defined by key components to be global ready for future careers, have the opportunity to embark on a journey through Kenya and South Africa with the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto's Designing Ecological Tourism (DET)team. DET is a collaborative research platform at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto that aims to develop and disseminate transferable tools, strategies, and visions for low impact designs which safeguard fragile environments and invigorate local economies. This June, over a course of 24 days, we head to South Africa and Kenya to conduct workshops and to retrofit and expand Hi-Jung Oh Children's Home, an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya transforming it into a youth leaders academy that incorporates the residential and schooling needs with training facilities and public spaces.

This is a unique opportunity for graduate, and undergraduate students of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto as it allows them to be involved in an International project, designing and creating real projects that solve real problems while having opportunity to strengthen careers with relevant skills in their field of study. Dreamandbe is thrilled at the opportunity and potential these young minds will unveil during this creative process of development.

Located on a 12 acre parcel in Thome, a neighbourhood in north-eastern Nairobi, Hi-Jung Oh Children's Home is a registered NGO which provides a home and educational opportunities to children in need. Started by an immigrant Korean couple, the institution provides a home to dozens of children, teenagers, and young adults. Dr. Oh is the in house doctor and his wife became the grandmother of their needs. Passing on their legacy, Dr. and Mrs. Oh seek to expand their current facilities and transform it into a youth leaders academy. With a current capacity of 250, the expansion aims at providing space for 1000 students and staff focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum. Additionally, the academy will incorporate immediate training programs, such as essential medical training for midwife, paramedics, RNs, a cooking school to enhance culinary and nutritional skills, film and post-production and event training and spaces. These programs will empower the children through the provision of skills in a variety of fields and aim to provide a means of economic sustainability for the academy and young adults in these regions.

DET's team for 2014 brings together faculty members from the University of Toronto, graduate students, international experts, exchange students, undergraduate students, Kenyan architecture professors and students, and local stakeholders to form a collaborative and interdisciplinary team capable of tackling this complex program. For this first phase, our goal is to collect and synthesize information and propose design ideas and guidelines that maximize Hi-Jung Oh Children's Home's impact in the community. These proposals will encompass the immediate sustainable retrofit of the existing structure as well as its future expansion. To achieve this, DET will engage in series of studies that will provide the necessary information and understanding to develop the project, including a comprehensive site analysis studying the environmental, social and economic context, as well as in situ research to collect further information and test collaborative design methods including meetings and workshops. The workshops will involve the Principal investigator, graduate students in architecture and landscape architecture of the University of Toronto, the Hi-Jung Oh Children's Home, Dreamandbe Sine Qua Non staff, International outreach partners and in neighbouring African countries, and community members. The findings will be recorded in two formats: a booklet and digital files. Additionally, DET aims at preparing exhibition panels of all final findings. The result of our research will lay the groundwork for the future youth leadership academy.

Please join us at our press conference to meet our development and design team and hear about our plans and the great work already underway from these inspired grad and under grad students.
Date: May 28, 2014
Location: Centre for City Ecology, 401 Richmond St. West
Time: 5:00 - 6:30 pm

Team members
DET leads: Aziza Chaouni and Joel Leon
DET researchers: John Bautista, Bianca Bodanese, Mylena Lopes Oliveira, Francisco Macedo, Martin Malchev, Mohiul Motasim, Kelsey Nilsen, Jergus Oprsal, Ye Wang, Safoura Zahedi, Jin Park, Mat Bak Experts: Kristina Lubijonic, Shubhendu Sharma
Dreamandbe Directors: Lucy Damiani, John Damiani, Christine Munson
Leaders Academy Co-Executive Directors: Alethia Barrett, Lucy Damiani

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Designing Ecological Tourism (DET) is a collaborative research platform that investigates the challenges faced by ecotourism in the developing world. Led by Assistant Professor Aziza Chaouni of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, DET has developed projects in a large range of scales and countries, including Morocco, Jordan, Brazil and Canada. Its goal is to develop and disseminate transferable tools, strategies, and visions for low impact designs which safeguard fragile environments and invigorate local economies. It seeks not only to introduce graduate students to working in developing world contexts, but also to nurture collaborative research environments that combine the three disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and planning with ecology, economics, and sociology.

Dreamandbe Sine Qua Non is a non-governmental organization founded and led by Lucy Damiani. Developed in 1999 and incorporated in 2005, Dreamandbe Sine Qua Non aims to empower youth through project focused events. Their recent projects include developing World Class Culinary Chefs and featuring and nurturing emerging designers through their upcoming Latin America to the World event.

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