It was his desire to connect engineering and helping others that led Dilan Badshah and his Bridges to Prosperity team from Waterloo all the way to Totolima, Bolivia, in the summer of 2014. Now, Dilan and his team are preparing to return to Bolivia for their next project: constructing a 90 metre long footbridge in Chimoré.
Founded in 2013, the University of Waterloo Bridges to Prosperity (UW B2P) is run under Bridges to Prosperity, a non-profit organization that constructs footbridges to give rural communities access to vital resources. Dilan first discovered Bridges to Prosperity through social media and founded UW B2P after seeing the successes of other student chapters.
It was inspiring to read the stories of other student chapters in the US making lasting changes by constructing a footbridge. I knew that with the talented students at our university and the resources available to us, I would be able to successfully lead the first Bridges to Prosperity chapter in Canada. -Dilan Badshah
Since the team's founding, UW B2P has received support from many on campus sources. Dilan found UWaterloo Engineering extremely supportive and appreciated the value placed on student teams by the faculty.
Not only is Waterloo Engineering our single largest sponsor, but they have continually strived to provide our team with the resources we need to succeed. We have been able to host our meetings in fully-equipped rooms, connect with industry leaders, and undertake occasional team-training sessions. -Dilan Badshah
As they return to Bolivia in August, travelling to Chimoré, they will be building a bridge that will provide access to schools, markets and medical facilities, resources that would be otherwise unavailable to the community during the five month long rainy season. Two University of Toronto students who are being mentored by the UW B2P team (in the hopes that they can establish their own University of Toronto chapter) will also be joining them.
For Dilan, the overall experience of leading this team has reinforced his belief in engineering as a force for change. He hopes to one day work for an engineering firm that unites his passion for engineering with his desire to make a difference in the community.
Leading the Bridges to Prosperity team solidified my belief that engineering can be the catalyst that changes the world and helps provide a better quality of life for all kinds of people. -Dilan Badshah