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West Mec students modify shipping container to help Ugandan refugees

Posted at 6:20 PM, May 25, 2023

Over the past five months, welding and electrical students at West Mec in Buckeye have put their training to work on a very special project.

“It looks really nice finished, cause putting it all together we weren’t sure how it was going to turn out,” said West Mec Electrical student Ayden McCall.

Students like McCall transformed a 40-foot shipping container into a workshop of hope heading to a place desperate for support.

“It’s hooked up so they can either hook up solar panels up on the roof or they can hook it to the power grid, whichever one they need to do,” said McCall.

McCall and his classmates partnered with McCarthy Building Companies and the nonprofit Pipeline Worldwide. They were tasked with designing, fabricating and constructing a workshop that will be used to change the lives of Ugandan Refugees.

“A lot of these families are leaving these violent areas, and setting in these temporary refugee camps and unfortunately they’re becoming more permanent,” said Todd Scott with McCarthy Building Companies.

Scott says in 2020, they converted a shipping container into housing for medical staff volunteering at the camps. This time around, West Mec students helped them design and installed folding work benches, equipment storage and material shelving inside the container. They ran electrical supply and ventilation.

The unit will be used to build a career technical education campus there and train Ugandans in trade skills they can use to craft a new future.

“It’s allowing us to support their infrastructure, give their workforce over there, develop them some skills, and provide for their families as well as rebuild their community,” said Scott.

“Looks kind of professional if I do say so myself,” said McCall.

He says he takes a lot of pride in knowing this structure will help provide the same type of training he’s been lucky enough to get right here at West Mec.

“I teach that in my class with these kids to just being appreciative and give back just like we’re giving to them,” said electrical instructor Jamie Miller.

When the container arrives in Uganda in November, the months-long project will shape a better tomorrow for a community ready to rebuild.