Barbadian singer Rihanna is using her clout as a world famous pop star to support education in Malawi. Through her charity she is donating much-needed bicycles and financial support to learners to help them stay in school. The initiative follows her recent visit to Malawi.Barbadian pop singer Rihanna with an Ofo bicycle. The world famous pop star is donating bikes to Malawian schoolgirls over the next five years through her charity, the Clara Lionel Foundation. (Image: Clara Lionel Foundation)CD AndersonThe five-year bike programme is part of a partnership between Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Chinese bicycle manufacturer Ofo is making and delivering the bikes to Malawi for free.The foundation, started by Rihanna in 2012 as a tribute to her grandparents, who taught her the importance of education, is dedicated “to improving the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts and culture”.It has already helped to build medical facilities in Barbados, as well as sponsored scholarships for underprivileged young women in the US, Brazil, Cuba and Haiti. It also helps to finance and support artisan fashion manufacturing in Haiti.In February 2017, Rihanna was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Harvard University Foundation for her organisation’s charity work.Following a visit to Malawi in June 2017, where she met local NGOs and educators, Rihanna started the 1 KM Action Campaign, which will donate bicycles to Malawian schoolgirls.“[The initiative] will be solely dedicated to helping the young girls of Malawi get to school safely, cutting down those very long walks they make to and from school all alone,” the singer said in announcing the programme.Her foundation has delivered the first batch of 100 bikes to the community, and will continue to sponsor delivery of more than 3,000 bicycles over the next five years.As simple as the idea of a bicycle that enables a child to get to school is, says the GPE, the contribution will go a long way towards helping to solve some of the regional transport challenges contributing to Malawi’s high drop-out rates. Although 4.6 million children attend primary school in Malawi, only 8% reach and complete secondary education. The drop-out rate is higher for girls, for a variety of reasons, but transport is the primary stumbling block.Barbadian pop singer Rihanna is donating bikes to Malawian schoolgirls over the next five years through her charity, the Clara Lionel Foundation. Rihanna visited the country in June 2017. (Image: Clara Lionel Foundation)During her visit to Malawi to finalise the programme, Rihanna said: “It’s such a pity that they have to drop out, because they are so smart. It’s sad that has to end for some of them, because they could probably do so much if they had the resources to continue and complete [their schooling].”In addition to the bikes, the girls involved in the initiative will benefit from the Clara Lionel Foundation scholarship programme, which sponsors university studies for young women. Speaking to USA Today about her involvement in education, Rihanna said that “to be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honour. Higher education will help to provide perspective, opportunities and learning to a group of kids who really deserve it. I am thrilled to be able to do this.”Watch a short documentary about Rihanna’s visit to Malawi and the 1 KM Action CampaignCheck out the Clara Lionel Foundation and GPE websites to see more of the organisations’ work.Source: OkayAfrica, Clara Lionel Foundation, Global Partnership for EducationWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
_This podcast series is excerpted from a two-day class called “Building Science Fundamentals” taught by Dr. Joe Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube of Building Science Corporation._ For information on attending a live class, go to BuildingScienceSeminars.com In our last episode, Dr. Joe Lstiburek compared air barriers and vapor barriers, and explained how airtightness helps keep homes free of mold and rot. This week Dr. Joe explains how water and salt move through masonry by osmosis, often causing serious damage to foundations. He also offers some solutions to this common problem. __________________________________________________ Osmosis isn’t a problem everywhere In new construction, it’s real easy: you coat the top of the footing, you’ve got your stone (capillary) break, you’ve got your dampproofing. You don’t have to worry about salt, and you don’t have to worry about capillarity — life is good. It’s kind of hard to retrofit this. It’s a wonderful way to do it in new construction, but it’s tough if you’ve got a 100-, 200-, or 300-year-old structure to deal with. What’s so bad about salt and water? The physics of the osmosis forces works like this: water takes the salt in solution to a surface, the water evaporates, and the salt is left behind. And as more water evaporates, more salt accumulates, so the concentration of salt goes up. As the concentration of salt goes up, water rushes to the concentration of salt in order to dilute it — because one of the rules of physics is that nature doesn’t like these kinds of concentrations. The action of the water rushing to the surface actually creates hydrostatic forces. This pressure from the water rushing through the pore system causes the material to flake apart, and the explosive flaking is referred to as spalling. Let me summarize this: salt is very bad; water is very bad; salt and water together — whoa! Osmosis is powerful stuff The pressures are extraordinary. With diffusion, pressures are 3 to 5 psi — it’s nothing. Water vapor never pushed nothing off of nothing. Capillary pressures are fairly impressive — 300 to 500 psi. It moves water to the top of a 400-foot tree. That’s a pretty impressive force. But it isn’t anywhere close to the league of osmosis pressures, which are 3000 to 5000 psi. The compressive strength of even good concrete is 2000 to 3000 psi — salt and water will beat concrete every time. Osmosis beats capillarity which beats diffusion. Wow. Bridges fall down, life comes to an end, when you have salt and water. Sacrificial mortars are one solution Well, old-timers figured stuff out. What these folks noticed was that the mortar was eaten away much faster than the masonry, and certain mortars were eaten away much faster than others. The pore structure of the mortar was very critical to this. And someone said, “Aha! Maybe if I get the pore structure just right, all of the salt will end up in the mortar instead of the brick. And the mortar can sacrifice itself to protect the integrity of the brick.” That’s when we figured out that softer, weaker mortars are actually the ideal complement to clay brick that’s been fired at a specific temperature. And the solution would be to re-point the mortar as it was eaten away. You never want to have a mortar that’s stronger than the brick, because then the brick sacrifices itself to protect the mortar. That’s why historic preservationists — the old ones that know stuff because they’ve been around a long time — go to an enormous amount of trouble in old buildings to match the mortar chemistry precisely. The general rule is: if you don’t know what’s going on, don’t mess with the building. Or if something’s been around for two or three hundred years, don’t mess with the strategy. If you come up with the right mix, all of the deterioration happens in the joints, and you simply re-point them on a 15 or 20 year basis. Parging protects the entire surface Well, why not just coat the whole thing with a sacrificial layer? And instead of doing this on a 10-year basis, why not extend this to a 30- or 40-year basis? The way you think of this sacrificial layer is as a sort of lime-based poultice that sucks the salt poison out of the assembly. So how do you know when you have to replace it? Well, when it falls off. It’s the building telling you it’s time to put on another sacrificial layer.Related topicsRead about a real-world example of water damage in a brick foundation. And find strategies for keeping bulk water away from a basement.