Not all fun and games

By Stephanie Claggett

The term “engineers” often conjures up an image of debauchery and widespread disturbance, especially after last week’s engineering extravaganza. But when this group is determined to get something done, whether it is running around dressed up as cartoon characters or fund raising for a worthy cause, it happens.

Engineers Without Borders recently began their fund raising drive for this year’s projects, including the Securing Computer Access Locally and Abroad program.

The SCALA program is a joint objective from EWB Canada and the Filipino Department of Social Welfare and Development, whose purpose is to give out of school youth–mainly 19-25 year olds between high school and a steady job–access to resources such as computers that will help improve their quality of life.

“The program aims at giving [them] a chance to escape poverty by teaching them valuable computer and life skills,” said EWB and SCALA member David Barrie.

While SCALA’s main objective is to obtain computers for Filipino youth and to teach basic computer skills, the program also has components that teach everyday skills, everything from family planning to study skills.

“It really brings the community together,” said former overseas volunteer and current University of Calgary SCALA project leader Daniel Charlebois.

This year, the EWB Calgary Chapter hopes to raise $15,000 and to send 75 computers to the Philippines, along with one volunteer, as opposed to the two they sent last year. The number of Canadian volunteers needed for the project is declining as more and more people in the Philippines become computer literate and are available to help teach the youths.

“The idea is that we’ll work ourselves out of a job,” said Charlebois, who also added that this will not be a short process.

“[This year’s] goal is to double the capacity of the SCALA program to help over 3,000 Filipino out of school youth by the end of December 2005,” said Barrie.

If you would like more information about the SCALA program, please contact David Barrie at, or if you or your employer would like to make a donation, please email Graeme Campbell at

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