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This architect builds schools in Senegal using upcycled materials

Leila Meroue  Co-Founder of UK charity 'Let's build my school' with locals in Senegal.
Leila Meroue Co-Founder of UK charity 'Let's build my school' with locals in Senegal. Copyright Let's build my school
Copyright Let's build my school
By Doloresz Katanich
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She also founded a charity which teaches local people to build their own houses from upcycled materials.


In 2015, Leila Meroue took a volunteer trip to Argentina. Her experiences on that visit inspired her to start Let's build my school, a charity that constructs education facilities in remote African villages.

Leila has lived all over the world. Her parents are from Senegal but she was born in France and completed her studies in the UK where she now works as an architect.

She believes that education is the key to growth and development which means that everybody should have access to it.

Let's build my school's first project started in 2017. It was a facility for toddlers completed with the help of the local community and volunteers from Europe. The building was created using locally sourced materials including recycled tyres.

Building a school takes months so several different 'troops' of volunteers have the chance to get involved. "I think so many people are always behind their computer, trying to do donations, but being on-site and sharing a real human experience is a different approach," Leila tells Euronews Living.

The pandemic has put a stop to these trips for time being but Leila is still working on the next project in Marsassoum, Senegal which is to be completed by the end of 2021.

"We thought it was very important to give back to this country, everything it gave to us," she adds. There are regions in Senegal where only 50 per cent of children have access to education.

While volunteers are unable to travel, the charity has organised an international competition calling for proposals to design the elementary school.

Supporting education doesn't end with building schools. The charity also teaches local people special construction techniques so they can build their own houses using upcycled materials.

"It is about empowering communities to be able to expand the village and be independent, to have the dignity of building a roof over their head if they need to," concludes Leila.

Click on the video above to learn more about the charity's work.

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