Bridges to Prosperity
Lehigh Bridges to Prosperity helps provide an isolated community in Panama with access to education, healthcare, and commerce, by designing, fundraising, and helping to construct a footbridge over an impassable river.
About our Organization:
Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) is a national organization that partners with university chapters to build footbridges for rural, isolated communities all over the world who lack access to basic needs during the rainy season. In many of these communities, children must cross the river to get to school and families must pass in order to access the main road that leads into town. The rainy season turns seemingly innocent rivers into dangerous and impassable obstacles. In these cases, a footbridge grants people year round access to these basic needs that many of us take for granted.
The process for a university chapter involves seeing the project through from conception to completion. B2P serves as a resource for our chapter throughout the project, including providing a design manual and a technical advisory board to support us in the design phase. We are also paired with an in-country manager who can help us connect and communicate with the community as well as provide us with information on the logistics and progress of the site. This is complimented by a team of support here at Lehigh, comprised of professors and faculty who can offer technical advice, ideas, and even on site safety supervision.
The footbridges that university chapters build as a part of this organization are proven to increase school attendance, family visits to health care facilities, and pedestrian-livestock traffic. The community and student chapter work together to build the bridge. The community takes ownership over the bridge and learns how to maintain it. This project is empowering for everyone. It is an opportunity to apply what is being learned in class in a real world and hands on way. Students get to experience a different culture and way of living and working. Facing the challenges of a remote and isolated bridge site helps to shape a Lehigh engineer.
National B2P subsidizes university chapter bridge projects. We are responsible for one third of the bridge cost as well as the support we receive from B2P staff. This adds up to $13,000. In addition, our team will be responsible for the travel of roughly 10 students to Panama. Our team is fully confident that we will be successful in changing the lives of another community in Panama. Every donation makes a difference as we work toward this important goal.
This past year, our student team successfully helped the community of Vallecito, Panama gain access to the main road during the rainy season by helping them construct the Vallecito footbridge. Working and living with the dedicated community was a learning experience and inspiration like no other for myself and the other students involved. We returned from Panama feeling proud of what we had accomplished, but also determined to it again.
This year our dedicated and eager team of students has already gotten started on preparing for our new project. Having witnessed the importance of this project first hand and learned from the challenges it presents, we are ready to truly make a difference this year as we continue to establish our legacy on this campus and in another, very far part of the world.
For additional information visit our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/BridgesToProsperityLehigh
And to learn more about the national organization please visit: http://bridgestoprosperity.org/
Contact Tara Hofferth (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or ideas!