ETM major, Industrial Engineering alumnus’s organization brings food and safety to Nigerian children
When Mubarak “Mo” Muhammed founded the Grassroots Africa Basketball (GRAB) Foundation, he planned to provide shoes for children in his hometown of Suleja, Nigeria. However, as he and GRAB have grown, they have expanded their efforts past shoes. Since its founding, GRAB has provided shoes to more than 100 children, renovated basketball courts in the area, and has adopted a nearby shelter for children. Muhammed used the skills he learned from the Engineering and Technology Management and Industrial Engineering programs at Louisiana Tech to push his organization to succeed. “Having the engineering entrepreneurship skills that I’ve learned in the Industrial Engineering and Engineering and Technology Management programs have helped me redefine the vision for GRAB into a sustainable plan. As an Engineering student at Louisiana Tech, I’ve strengthened my leadership, planning, and communication skills, and I’m able to apply manufacturing and quality processes to cost save on GRAB projects.” Through proper project planning and cost-research analysis that he learned at Louisiana Tech, Muhammed has reduced the operational costs for GRAB. The organization completed the first court renovation, cutting costs by nearly one-third of the original cost estimate. GRAB made cosmetic changes and installed new fiber rims, outdoor lighting, benches, and a safety fence at the court for roughly $4,500. The renovated court is a regulation college-size court with trim, markers for three-point and free throw lines, and the GRAB logo at mid-court. After completing the court refurbishment, Muhammed and GRAB shifted to helping repair the nearby Angwan Zumra Center in Suleja, a center that provides shelter and meals to underprivileged children. Muhammed also credits his education at Tech for his ability to develop a communication plan that helped GRAB members share ideas and plan a dormitory renovation for the center via Zoom calls and see the ideas executed perfectly. “So far, we have spent $13,000 on installing and building 12 rooms of well-ventilated, electrically powered hostel for the kids. Our initial cost estimate for this project was $25,000. We cut the cost nearly in half using the skills I learned in the Engineering and Technology Management program at Louisiana Tech. I do also have to credit the GRAB Foundation team in Nigeria for a job well done. Centers like the Angwan Zumra lack good drinking water, foods for a balanced diet, beds, and safety features because of low funding. Muhammed said he hopes that GRAB will help alleviate some of these problems through fundraisers on campus and campaigns with Greek organizations to rehabilitate the center. The rehabilitation will be done in three phases: providing new roofing for the sleeping area; installing doors, windows, and gates for safety; and installing electrical infrastructure. For the second phase, GRAB will provide 300 mattresses – a mattress for each child at the center – install lockers that the children can use as closets, and install a water system that will provide them with drinkable water. In the third phase, GRAB will implement a cafeteria plan, employ two chefs, provide two months of groceries, and bring in a GRAB ambassador to educate the chefs and the children about personal hygiene. Once GRAB completes the rehabilitation, the organization will introduce educational platforms on YouTube and teach them skills to help train them for careers. Muhammed estimates that the phases will cost $12,000; $9,000; and $14,000, respectively. GRAB has completed campaign fundraisers, sold raffle tickets at baseball games, and applied for grants to raise funds. Learn more about GRAB Foundation’s latest initiatives at the organization’s website or @grabfoundation on Instagram.