T he modest success we had obtained in 2011, where we were able to build 21 homes, gave us the courage to continue. We proceeded to register our NGO «Earth Home Project» in Hamburg. Thanks to the support offered by Michaela Waldenmaier, Gernot Meinel, the Raphael School in Nienstedten, as well as by Frau Belling Fischer from Buchholz (Christian community) who helped us gather donations Irshad Balouch went back to Pakistan. There he went to Kotla Mughlan, a village not far from the place where we started the project the previous year.
The main source of income in the region is the cultivation of the land, as a consequence people in the region were struck even harder by the devastating effects of the floods: nearly all of the fields and houses had been destroyed.
For most of them it is strictly
impossible to erect their houses on their own, the inflation in the cost of
basic building materials forcing the few able to acquire a loan to take on life-long debts, often resulting in the loss of their land.
Following a thorough investigation of the shortcomings of the houses which had
collapsed during the flood, we then started refining a house design based on
traditional architecture, making use of local building materials available in
abundance: earth, straw, lime and bamboo. Those materials contribute to the
sustainability of the design since they are highly accessible and do not require
heavy machinery, hence empowering people by virtue of those materials being easy
to acquire and handle.
The previous year we had already begun gathering straw that could be used to build the roofs as well as producing clay bricks where we only used clay from the area.
Over 150.000 of those clay bricks had now dried in the sun and were just waiting to be used. A team of seven craftsmen who between them shared all the skills needed to build strong and sustainable houses was ready to put their knowledge to use in order to help their neighbors.
While working on the construction we were told about a family which suffered a great deal of pain: the father had died of an illness, the mother was taking care on her own of her six children. The flood had destroyed their home forcing them to live all together in a small tent in their neighbors courtyard. The mother had found a job in Karachi (500 miles away). When she heard that there was a possibility to get the help she needed to build a home she immediately came to the village and participated in the construction. A week later the whole family could move into their new house.
Most of the families we work with are in a similarly desperate situation.
Following a short period of planning the construction for 6 more houses begun. Rapid progress was made since those who had been assisted in building their own homes the previous year helped their neighbors. Before the rain season started 36 new homes stood ready.