Madison Wood : Scotland – Mechanical Engineering at University of Strathclyde

“My name is Maddie and I participated in the WindAid short-term volunteer project in June/July 2017. My experience at WindAid was amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. WindAid allows you to see engineering in action, something I am very interested in, and gives you invaluable hands on experience.

Working in the workshop shows you the process of how a turbine is made and the interesting, sometimes very inventive, methods WindAid uses. I learnt so many important skills which I could potentially use in future life such as working with hand-tools, making electrical circuits and how to make an object strong yet light (essential when creating wind turbine blades) I also learnt potentially less useful skills for my career such as welding but it’s such a cool thing to know how to do! The men who work in the workshop are incredibly helpful and nice, every day in the workshop is so much fun.

The purpose of WindAid is to build and install a wind turbine in order to benefit a small community. My installation was in Vilcas, a rural village in the mountains of Peru. We built a large turbine of 2.5kW and were able to electrify two classrooms in the local school. I will never forget how excited and thankful both the children and the adults of the village were. They did all that they could to help us and were extremely kind. To us, electricity is so common but to them it was a huge change in their lives. It was very fulfilling to see something I helped built have such a positive effect on people.

Additionally, WindAid gives lots of opportunity for travel, with flexible Fridays available so that you can make the most of your weekend and see Peru. I traveled a lot around the country including Huaraz, Chicama and Cajamarca – all of these places were incredibly beautiful and interesting. After WindAid, I did a bit of traveling around Peru including climbing Machu Picchu which is definitely worth doing if you have the time! The volunteer co-coordinators at WindAid are so helpful and can give full details about where is best to visit. Peruvian people are also so nice and friendly, which makes this whole experience even better. Overall, WindAid is a great organisation and provided me the opportunity to better my lives and the lives of others. I would recommend taking part in a volunteer program at WindAid for an experience you won’t forget. ”