On 27 June, Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey recognised the group of Northern Ireland civil engineers who spent two weeks in Rwanda building a life-saving suspension bridge across the Giwsi River.
ICE Northern Ireland had sent the team in partnership with Bridges to Prosperity, a charity committed to ending poverty caused by rural isolation. The 45 metre bridge the team built now ensures safe access to markets, schools and the local health clinic for 6,000 people.
The group successfully raised more than £17,000 to finance their travels, with an additional £50,000 of corporate sponsorship donated toward the cost of the bridge.
The Lord Mayor congratulated the team for their achievements at Belfast City Hall, saying:
“These inspirational women and men’s skills and selflessness have resulted in thousands of people benefiting from safe access to local services, services they were previously cut off from for a third of the year due to dangerous conditions.”
“Living in Belfast, we can take that kind of infrastructure for granted – but without it, we’d find day to day living very difficult indeed. So I’m very proud that the altruism of these talented professionals has resulted in such a boost to Rwandan people’s quality of life.”
The team was delighted to be able to share stories and highlights from the trip with the Lord Mayor.
“It is such an honour for our team to be recognised by the Lord Mayor, and it’s testament to their hard work in Rwanda,” said ICE Regional Director Richard Kirk.
“The team acted as ambassadors for Northern Ireland and for our profession, showing the transformational impact civil engineering can have on a community.”