Siti Nurafaf Ismail may be a regular architecture student at University Malaya, but the lass has been making waves internationally.
The 21-year-old has been named the first Asian woman to win the RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship
According to a report by South China Morning Post
, the scholarship worth USD8,780 (RM36,400), supports architecture students with a period of international research on a topic related to the sustainable survival of cities and towns.
Under the scholarship, Nurafaf will travel to cities affected by natural disaster to learn from her idols in architecture and follow their footsteps.
This allows her to spend 60 days each with NGOs in Hokkaido, Japan, and Karachi, Pakistan working to rebuild communities devastated by earthquakes and flooding.
How amazing is that!
Nurafaf said she applied for the scholarship to study the community’s rebuilding process first-hand and examine how an architect fits into that experience.
She sees a growing need for architects to participate in disaster management, hence her efforts to pursue this field.
"As architects, we are trained to build houses for well-off people, or public buildings. In disaster-prone communities, we need to look at structures in a different way, including the materials and foundations," Nurafaf said.
"Each place is unique. What works in Malaysia might not necessarily work in Pakistan, so architects in those locations need to stand up – they know the people best."
Keep up the good work, Nurafaf, and make Malaysia proud!