School of Carpentry & Construction Builds a Name for Itself

It’s been 10 months since the Himalayan Institute Cameroon School of Carpentry & Construction opened its doors in Kumbo, and since then it has created many opportunities for the community. Each project that the school undertakes is designed to target local needs in the community and is proving to benefit the carpentry industry in NW Cameroon.

Training programs, Workshops and Internships
Many classes have taking place since the school opened, most notable in 2009 were two 10-week training programs titled “Modern Carpentry Methods.” The first training was delivered to local carpenters who were looking for advanced training. The second training was for a group of technical teachers sent to the School by the local government trade school. These teachers not only learned how to improve their approach to carpentry but, more importantly, attention was given to help develop teaching skills.

Program Consultant Marten Nyar demonstrates the use of the radial arm saw to a large group of technical school students.

Cement Block and Seasoned Lumber Enterprise
In Kumbo, the majority of homes are built from cement blocks in wooden frames. Some builders cut costs by using less cement in their blocks and by using untreated lumber. The result is that the blocks crumble and the untreated boards warp.

To address this problem, the School of Carpentry & Construction set out to provide the community with high quality, dependable building materials. By taking time to dry and treat their lumber and by ensuring the proper proportions of cement and sand in their cement blocks, this new enterprise now makes these materials available to the community at all times. This effort is already improving the durability and safety of building projects throughout Kumbo.

When lumber is properly stacked and dried it becomes stronger, more durable, and less susceptible to warping.

Contracted Services Unit
This service program was developed to give the School’s trained students and staff an opportunity to use their skills on private contracted projects in the community.

The School was hired by the local government to build furniture for the new council building. After the project was finished, students, staff and HIC General Manager Bannyuy Justine posed for a picture with the mayor of Kumbo.

The School also performed all of the renovations on the Institute’s Kumbo Public Library.

Most recently, the School was asked to build the casket for the Archbishop of Bamenda, who passed away last month. This was a huge honor for the students and teachers of the School.

Custom Woodwork Trainings and Enterprise
Almost every training program has been geared toward improving quality and increasing the efficiency of the carpentry trade. In the city of Kumbo there are over 200 carpenters, most of whom have been able to use this knowledge to add value to their own businesses.
The students and staff of the School have also created their own micro-business making refined furniture available to buyers either from custom orders or from a standard line of affordable, durable and beautiful furniture and products.

Most of the furniture at the shop is made from eucalyptus wood. Eucalyptus has a high moisture content, so if not properly dried, it will warp and ruin furniture. But thanks to the School’s wood drying program, the furniture is turning out wonderfully!

Locals often are amazed with the result. “This is Eucalyptus?!?” they ask.

Specialty Woodworking Service Program
After students are trained and pass a certain level of certification in modern shop operations, they are then authorized to open the shop and machines up to the community as a service program. This Specialty Woodworking Service Program allows local carpenters to have access to all of the tools. Through this program, carpenters will now be able to bring in boards to be cut, sanded, and finished by trained Carpentry & Construction Technicians.