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Students Offer Hope to Village in El Salvador

For one group of Jacobs School students, spring break meant traveling to northern El Salvador’s El Portrero, a poor community with no indoor plumbing or electricity. The village is accessible only via a dirt road which crosses the La Joya River, and is subject to flash floods. The students were conducting a site visit as part of their project to design and construct a bridge for the village.

“During the rainy season from May through November, the people of El Portrero are cut off from the outside world, and the children cannot attend school,” says Fatema Eshaq (senior, structural engineering), who launched the Jacobs School’s newest student organization chapter—Engineers Without Borders. The organization builds sustainable engineering systems for communities in need.

Eshaq recruited 15 colleagues to join her in 2005, and they wasted no time securing their first project. Now the students are on a tight timeline to complete their design, fundraise more than $30,000, and gather materials—all before winter break 2006, and the next dry season.That’s when the team plans to return to El Salvador to construct their bridge.

To learn more about how you can help, contact Fatema Eshaq at

Students Offer Hope to Village in El Salvador