Alumni heroes tackling COVID-19

Apr 03, 2020

3D-printing for hospitals in need

Aymane Berrerhdoche is a junior architect and co-founder of Clinaqua. With his start-up the Moroccan who currently studies in Valencia, Spain, provides a solution for single-use plastic items like plastic bottles to improve water quality for individuals around the world, working with 3D-printers. “Amid COVID-19 we didn’t stop working on our project, because we believe in it’s importance for a sustainable future.” But Aymane and his co-founders have given their Clinaqua 3D-printers a new purpose.

“We now deliver basic medical protection supplies to hospitals in need in Spain, Valencia and Morocco, Malaga – for free. Many owners of 3D-printing devices started this initiative and we wanted to give back to our communities in this crucial time.”, says Aymane. Reusable face protectors are not just crucial for doctors and nurses during this pandemic, they also do less harm to the environment than single-use protectors.

The designs for these protection supplies are available for free online, giving every owner of a 3D-printer the chance to become a lifesaver without having to leave their home or workplace. Aymane offers these designs at clinaqua@gmail.com, and he’s looking for partners all around Europe and the world to join him. “We are in this together, stay positive!”

 

 

A computer for every student

As the COVID-19 crisis broke out in Europe this March, I was humbled to see how many educational technology companies were willing to give their solutions away for free so that high quality education, would continue being provided during the home-schooling period. However, not all kids in Estonia have devices that allow using these virtual distance learning options. We might be known as an e-nation, but to this day not all families in the country have computers at home. Even though I don’t personally know anyone in this situation, I felt I should do something about this disparity.

On Saturday, two days after Estonian Ministry of Education announced that starting the following Monday all kids will be quarantined and home-schooled, there was a digital hackathon organized in Estonia, where I offered the idea to build a platform that would help to solve this device providing problem. It did not gain traction at the hackathon. I talked to people from the ministry and found out how many issues could rise if devices were donated without proper handling. Completely discouraged by these obstacles, I stopped working on it. Two days went by, and the issue became more evident. Facebook groups popped up trying to connect people with devices with ones in need. A day later the group had blown up to a thousand users and was getting out of hand as the ratio of people claiming to need a device to donors was one to ten. Turns out I had been 3 days ahead of my time.

I joined the team, and I must admit it was challenging to suddenly lead an initiative together with two back then strangers. Soon, the team from my educational NGO Edumus decided to join. We created a landing page and put our best efforts into collecting and organising data about people who need devices and those who have some to donate. To date we have managed to provide around 1000 devices to families in need, across Estonia which is 1,5% of all families with school-aged children.

I am thankful for the companies and people who have provided their devices. We are safe to say that from now on, no kid in Estonia should be behind in their studies because of lack of a virtual learning device. I praise Estonian Ministry of Education, local governments, schools and the team of people we were working with for quickly jumping on board and joining us in our efforts to provide the devices to the families who need them the most. If you want to join me and other JA Alumni to create innovative solutions for education or making the world a better place, now is the opportunity.

Join me to hack the crisis on: https://www.theglobalhack.com

Maria’s background - I have been an edtech entrepreneur now for a bit more than a year. Inspired by my 5 years of experience in JA Alumni Estonia I realised how much one can do in addition to one's main job or studies. Edumus helps working professionals to go back to school to teach part time so they too could experience the joy of contributing to education.

 

Are you and #AlumniHero helping your community trying to deal with this current situation? Contact us at info@alumnieurope.org


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