The most prestigious accolade a young person, aged 9-25 years, can receive for their social action or humanitarian work, is the Diana Award. And recently, an architecture student of Faculty of Architecture & Ekistics, Jamia Millia Islamia, Kaif Ali has been honoured with it.
Ali has been awarded for his work on Covid-19 Innovation –Space era, which is a module for demountable and portable shelter space for Covid-19 era and beyond. He started working on this project during March last year when the pandemic was raging.
“I noticed when people were being isolated at home or at Covid centres, it was not entirely isolating and there was still a risk of spreading the virus. Tackling this very problem, I have created an intermediate space, which allows people to isolate completely. The shelter is portable and can be set anywhere, so people can even isolate near their locality. The shelter also follows all norms of social distancing and Covid protocols,” he says.
The shelter can be designed with prefabricated sheets, or by using shipping containers. A standard shelter unit contains 4 shelter units, with 96 quarantine friendly beds, with a flexibility of modulation as per requirements.
With a passion for humanitarian causes, Ali has designed refugee camps as college projects, and confesses on feeling passionate about it. He adds, “I have been tirelessly doing innovations in the humanitarian shelter domain. To make refugee camps or disaster relief camps and have participated in international competitions about the same.” And, when the pandemic hit us, Ali saw it as an opportunity to serve the society by his innovations.
Admits to being a multi-tasker, Ali was working on space era, all while attending online classes, but, never saw it is as a problem and always felt passionate for his work. “It doesn’t feel like work because of the passion and dedication I have for it. Neither my college, nor any government body has asked me to do this project, it is all driven by my passion,” says the awardee.
Having done this project all by himself, Ali feels proud of himself and wants to inspire youth. “Initially I asked my peers, if they want to join me on this project. But, they didn’t understand it. They thought using shipping containers is not a ‘new’ idea. So, I did it alone and I am happy it is being received well. With various organisations recognising my work and having received many awards, I am happy and proud that my efforts didn’t go in vain. I did something good for the society,” he adds.
With a message for youth out there, Ali says, “I want all the young citizens to follow a three I’s formula, that is to imagine, initiate and inspire. I firmly believe that youth has the power to change the world and serve the society from our own professions. With consistency and courage, youth can inspire the coming generation.”
With hopes of continuing to serve the society, Ali wants to further work for sustainability and bring out a youth perspective for climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. “I want to be a youngest sustainability professional and work in climate leadership domain,” he concludes.