Khadijah’s life-changing trip to a community in Nepal

Supporting communities with sustainable technology
In 2020, Khadijah Ismail became one of only two apprentices to be granted a funded scholarship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Mother and baby monkey Khadijah used the opportunity to apply for The Green Program, a scheme designed to educate and empower future sustainability leaders.
 
Fuelled by a passion to use her engineering skills to help a community 1000s of miles across the globe, Khadijah embarked on a once in a lifetime trip to Nepal.  
 
A project team came together from a range of countries and backgrounds and, after spending time at Kathmandu University learning about the ethics of sustainable development, the team made their way to the remote village of Dharmechaur where they planned to install a solar-powered grinding mill for the local community. The mill would provide the community with the ability to grind rice, providing a sustainable and much-needed source of income for the village.  

Khadijah and colleague smiling with a mountain view Bringing her knowledge from the engineering apprenticeship scheme together with her first-hand experience developing the solar panel technology for the PHASA-35® electric aircraft, Khadijah and the team successfully installed the solar panel technology for the mill.  

She said “I was able to take the principles and experience I’d gained developing a highly sophisticated solar aircraft and apply them in a very different way.  I worked with a team member from Nepal to install the battery connections and we used equipment that was much more basic than that for the PHASA-35 aircraft. The fact that we didn’t speak the same language didn’t stop us completing the task successfully. It hit me at that moment. Sustainability really does have no boundaries whether that’s geographical, cultural or technological.”

Khadijah and colleagues making a box The reaction from the community was, as Khadijah described overwhelming and humbling. One of the women she spoke to told her “I don’t know how to use this, but I want to learn”. Khadijah was thrilled that the project was received so positively and had helped to empower a largely female based community to learn the skills needed to strengthen their local economy. 

Khadijah returns to BAE Systems to a role in Maintenance, developing the technologies that are helping to transform the way we support aircraft. For her, the trip was life-changing and a stark reminder that sustainability, and our responsibilities to protect the planet, really do have no boundaries.  
 
Khadijah's Nepal vlog Duration: 7:03