Posts Tagged ‘port au prince’

When homes are destroyed in disaster zones, the Mobile Factory can turn the rubble into Lego-like building blocks to create new housing. They snap together without mortar.

Stella Dawson of the Thomson Reuters Foundation writes, “In Amsterdam a mobile factory, the size of two shipping containers, ingests rubble at one end, liquifies it into cement, and spurts out Lego-shaped building blocks.

“Call it rubble for the people, converting the deadly debris from disasters into homes and hospitals, cheaply and quickly.

“It’s the brainchild of Gerard Steijn, a 71-year-old sustainable development consultant turned social entrepreneur, who leads the Netherlands-based project to recycle the rubble from natural disasters and wars.

“He plans to create ecologically sound and safe housing by producing 750 building blocks a day from the debris, enough for one home at a cost of less than $20,000 each.

” ‘In disasters, you have piles and piles of rubble, and the rubble is waste. If you are rich, you buy more bricks and rebuild your home,’ Steijn said in a telephone interview.

‘But what happens if you are poor? In disasters it is the poorest people who live in the weakest houses and they loose their homes first. I thought, what if you recycled the rubble to build back better homes for poor people?’

“His rubble-busting Mobile Factory has fired the imagination of a landowner in Haiti and a civil engineer at the University of Delft. They have joined forces to test Steijn’s idea and build the first rubble community in Port au Prince next year. …

“Unskilled people can build the homes with the blocks, which meet demanding Dutch construction standards to ensure they will last for many years. [Hennes de Ridder, an engineering professor at the University of Delft,] expects further stress tests he planned for Peru in a few months will show the homes can withstand temblors of at least 6 on the Richter scale.” Read more here.

Photo: The Mobile Factory
Model homes built from cement rubble are on display at an industrial park in Amsterdam. The brightly painted homes are designed for disaster zones, using technology that creates Lego-style building blocks from cement rubble.

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Ajay Singh writes about the good work of a library in Haiti that manages to do everything libraries do … except hand out books.

“When Rebecca McDonald was helping rebuild Haiti in the aftermath of its 2010 earthquake, the former construction manager witnessed … noticed that children had little or no access to books. …

” ‘I asked myself how children were supposed to get any education without books, especially given that they’d catch up with their teachers really fast,” McDonald said. An avid reader herself, the 36-year-old often shopped for books online, which led to her epiphany about the medium.

“ ‘It hit me that Haiti’s kids could use digital books,’ she said. …

“In spring 2012, McDonald met Tanyella Evans, then the Scottish executive director of Artists for Peace and Justice in charge of building a school in Haiti. Evans, 27, immediately liked McDonald’s idea, and together they set out to achieve a lofty goal: Launch a cloud-based digital library that would make books accessible to 250 million schoolchildren in developing countries around the world.

“With $110,000 raised on Kickstarter in July 2013, the duo officially established their nonprofit, Library for All. By the end of that year—thanks to Open Educational Resources, free digital titles provided by major US publishers, and partnerships with local governments and NGOs to purchase electronic devices—Evans and McDonald started their pilot program at Respire Haiti, a K–12 school on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. …

“Today, Library for All uses an Android app for low-cost tablets, PCs, and feature phones to make available a selection of 1,200 cloud-based e-books in Haitian Creole, French, English, and Spanish; many of the students had never even seen books in their native language of Haitian Creole before.” More here.

The story comes from TakePart, by way of the Christian Science Monitor feature “People Making a Difference.”

Swoan Parker/Reuters/File
Students at Julie Siskind School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, identify alphabet letters on a wall.

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