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USR Team Visits Lombok’s Earthquake Victims

Project LA4S Installs Two Water Filtration Systems for Madrasah Alam Sayang Ibu

In November last year, a strong earthquake jarred the province of Lombok, Indonesia so strongly that it rattled locals with a deep trauma that still lingers until today. Despite more than a year passing, the earthquake also shattered the sense of well-being for thousands of Lombokians and created wide-spread anxiety.

One of the areas that was badly affected was Lombok. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, the water quality at a religious school in the area called Madrasah Alam Sayang Ibu (MSI) was badly affected with contaminants and impurities.

Project director of Lombok Almsgiving for Sustainability (LA4S), Ariff Syazwan Ariffin, 21, “It took us 24 hours from Surabaya to get to Madrasah Alam Sayang Ibu (MSI) in Lombok by ferry. It was heart moving to witness that the aftershocks continue to rumble through Lombok and there is a small chance of an even greater tremblor to come."

“Even after a year, the earthquake still strikes fear in the minds of the locals. I remember there was a blackout one night. Everybody was rushing and scattering because they thought the building was going to collapse on them." a chemical engineering student says,

Speaking of the poor state of the water, Arif says, “Before this, they were using a sock like filter for their water pipes. Because of the earthquake, they just could not separate contaminants from the soil and generate clean water."

In addition, all 19 group members got first-hand experience of the  unfiltered water consumed by the locals. “After some buildings were badly destroyed, it really disrupted their clean water systems. There was an unpleasant odour to the water," says LA4S deputy director, Nurul Nadhilah Kasim, 21.

In short, the program consisted of a 2-part visit to two locations, Malang and Lombok of Indonesia between the 13th to the 25th of August 2019 as a part of UTP's university social responsibility (USR) programme. Firstly, the chemical engineering students flew down to Universitas Brawijaya (UB) for a one week student mobility programme. Then, the group journeyed down to Lombok for a community outreach programme in an earthquake-prone district.

Before leaving Malaysia, team LA4S previously teamed up with Advanced Integrated Membrane System (AIMS), an innovative membrane research centre at UTP in order to provide two water filtration units which can filter up to 4 m3/s of water at MSI's hostel.

Supervised by Dr. Muhammad Roil Bilad, the water filtration system allows MSI students to utilise cleaner water for their domestic use. In addition, group members also taught the students how to maintain the system to ensure its usability.

“We bought the membranes in Jakarta. Meanwhile, the preparation for the water filtration system was done in Malang. Students of Universitas Brawijaya helped us with the design as some adaptations were needed for the fitting," says Nadhilah.

As a result, two systems were fitted at the school's dormitory. In effect, the project's impact touched over 200 students, thus greatly improving their health and livelihood. Also, the group handed RM2,000 of alms to the school administration.

Apart from installing the water filtration units, the group took the opportunity to polish MSI students' soft-skills. As a result, a number of English-based outdoor games and problem solving activities were conducted involving 45 MSI high school students.

Nadhilah says, “Not to mention, the fact that they sell tempeh to fund their activities shows the potential of the students. We hope we get to host them for an exchange programme at UTP sometime soon."

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Indeed, this is another prime example of UTP's profound career connected learning and industry collaboration. From the work we do, we foster long-term relationships with our global social-impact partners to prepare our students, people and researchers as global citizens.

As a leading university in engineering, science and technology, our graduates are driven to exceed their professional objectives and contribute towards overcoming capability deficit across all sectors and industries.

Published on 1 June 2020​