Campus Celebrity: Ada Umeofia

Name: Ada Umeofia

Major: Architecture

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

It’s not every day do you meet a young student who has founded their own organisation and has even received international recognition for their work. So imagine my surprise when speaking with my roommate, Ada Umeofia, for the first time and hearing about her exciting life and career before becoming a Bruin here at UCLA. I quickly realised that she was more ambitious and more accomplished than most people I have ever come across, and all at the tender age of 21! With studying in London, meeting Bill Clinton and an award from Google all on her resume, Ada is far from a regular architecture student. This week Ada told me more about her organisation, We Built:Africa, and about her busy life.

1. What is WeBuilt:Africa?
Ada: WeBuilt is a design centred social enterprise. We re-design and fabricate trading market stalls out of found and recycled building materials, for the informal market in the slums of Africa.

2. What inspired you to start WeBuilt? Especially at such a young age?
Ada: I identified a problem and decided to try and solve it, rather than complaining about it.

3. What has been the best experience in the WeBuilt built journey so far?
Ada: Winning the Challenge:Future competition this year. I was able to use the prize of 10,000 Euros to fund the WeBuilt project! So it was very exciting.

4. What plans do you have for the future of WeBuilt?
Ada: The next stage would be mass production, making more pieces for a range of different trades. Ultimately my hope for the future is to expand to different countries across Africa.

5. If you weren’t doing architecture, what would you be doing?
Ada: Probably carpentry!

6. How does being a student compare to your life as a designer?
Ada: Its like being in a bubble or behind a shield here—there is a real absence of responsibility! I now worry about more minute things, rather than the real world!

7. If you were given two days of total freedom, no work and no burdens for 48 hours, what would you use the time for?
Ada: I’d use my time to build a piece of furniture or something. By hand and made out of wood.

8. Is there anything besides designing and making that you like to do?
Ada: I love watching TV, The Office is my favourite show! I also love horror movies!

9. I really love your clothes and fashion sense. Where is your favourite place to shop?
Ada: Goodwill! Its great. I get such great finds there.

10. How can we find out more about you and the WeBuilt organisation?
Ada: Visit www.webuilt.org