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IE Professor Spearheads UH Community Effort to Help Afghan Children
Natalie Thayer
Boys with backpacks

Thanks to industrial engineering associate professor Lawrence Schulze and the generosity of the UH community, more than 20 boxes full of school supplies and children’s clothing items were hand-delivered to schools and orphanages in Afghanistan.

Schulze, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, contacted the UH Cullen College of Engineering last spring to ask if UH students, faculty and staff members could contribute to a “truly international community effort” called the Centipede Movement. Established by Bela Gran Jensen, the Centipede Movement enlists armies around the world to help deliver school supplies and clothing to children in need throughout the world.

The Cullen College sent an email out to the UH community asking for donated materials, such as spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, t-shirts, flip flops and other children’s clothing items. The response from faculty, staff and students across the University was overwhelming; within two weeks, the college had surpassed its goal of collecting 20 boxes of donations.

Schulze partnered with U.S. Army Major Steven Beard and Captain Josef Danhel from the Czech Republic to distribute the donations to schools and orphanages throughout Afghanistan. The U.S. Army’s Special Forces donated hundreds of pink and khaki-colored backpacks, which soldiers helped to pack with supplies and give out to the school children.

Schulze’s group also created three boxes of art supplies and two boxes of teacher supplies for classroom use. One of the art supply boxes was delivered to an orphanage along with the clothing donations. The backpacks, boxes and clothes were distributed with the assistance of the Task Force Solid of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, the Czech Republic Army and the Afghan National Army.

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