Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Habitat’s constant effort to help the community taught the organization a new technique of Bamboo Housing to grasp and enhance. Bamboo housing was introduced in Nepal in 2005. HFHI, Nepal realized the local application of bamboo into housing in a cost effective manner from the community itself. This motivated Habitat to further promote the technology and help people build decent habitats. For this purpose, Habitat initiated the program of bamboo housing. .Canadian Architects’ Legacy Fund also volunteered in the program and learnt a lot about the technology. The house is built by weaving six bamboo strips plastered with cement or clay for the walls of a house. Six bamboo pillars support the roof and the walls providing added resistance. Some of the houses of Habitat’s aim to build 20,000 houses by 2012 using low cost techniques will use this bamboo housing technique.

Working after being trained by HFHI-Nepal

Bamboo housing technique was adopted not only because bamboo houses look nice or because they are warm and cozy. It has various technical benefits as well. Bamboo is indigenously available in the southern part of Nepal. When raw materials are easily available, it requires less trouble to assemble and thus makes it more affordable and portable to apply bamboos into housing. Apart from having a private house strong enough to resist earthquakes or strong winds and storms, a bamboo house owner will be helping the environment as well. Bamboos are known to be eco friendly as they are helpful in
reducing the green house effect. No doubt, this new program will be beneficial from a wide range of prospects. Bamboo housing, therefore, is being promoted for the following attributes; affordability, ease of assembly, portability, durability and cultural acceptance. This has been experienced by some of the house owners as well who share their story about how their lives have taken a new turn.
Nar Kumari Limbu is one such benefic of this housing program. She is a 22 year old woman from Satishdham- 7, Jhapa. She lives with her husband, Rabin Limbu, a mason, and three daughters. The new house built from the combination of efforts by Sahara Nepal, Habitat for Humanity and the community’s effort enhanced by the Juntara Village Bank has given her brighter days and fresher hopes. The house was built a year ago. She shares her story about the past and the present:-
“Our family has had a very painful past. Due to political conflicts, we were moved out from our native Taplejung village. We had no land or a house of our own so we had to live with our cousins in Jhapa. Too many people in the same house was very difficult to adjust. The kitchen was also in the same room so the smoke coming out had started to degrade our health. My husband was a mason and we depended on his earning for our living but it just wasn’t enough. He went to a gulf country to earn more and during those times I had to struggle hard to raise my three daughters. I also started working as a wage earner in farming. Finally, my husband returned and we were able to buy a piece of land. We also collected some bamboo, sand and timber but building a house was way out of thought. We then heard of the housing Program initiated by Habitat for Humanity along with our Juntara Village Bank. I managed to collect 18000 from my savings and Habitat helped me assemble an additional 18000. With that money and the materials available, we were finally able to build up a new house. It has been a year and we finally have a comfortable life.”

Habitat house of Nara Kumari Limbu
“Having been displaced form our native house, this magnificent house is far beyond a dream come true. It is beautiful and comfortable and many people who drop by are full of admiration. Not only am I more encouraged to keep it clean but it had also motivated me to help the community build better housed of this sort. The kitchen and the rooms are separate so it is more hygienic as well. The underground water system is equally convenient. Moreover, I am more aware of the advantages of bamboo housing. It has improved our health conditions as it brings more warmth. Moreover, its strength makes us feel more safe and secured. We are not scared of any strong winds or heavy rainfall. Habitat has also made us aware that it is eco friendly. This makes me feel happy to have realized that I have helping the environment as well.”
Not only has our habitation, the overall living standard has bettered considerably. I have taken training from Group Level Orientation and Village Level Orientation. This has enabled me to work efficiently in a group and I am also aware of eco friendly housing techniques. I am the member of the community’s co-operative and I attend weekly meetings as well. I am also the member of the saving group formed by Sahara and Family Selection and Construction monitored by Habitat and Sahara. Previously, my husband was a local mason and I was into farming. Due to poor economic condition, we were living in a hand to mouth situation. Now I have trained myself in making candles and I earn more by selling them. My husband is again in the gulf countries. Better earning has encouraged saving and we are now able to educated our children better. This house has certainly enhanced our pride and dignity.”
Nar Kumari shared her joys and Habitat was really joyful to hear about her success. It was also a great pride for Habitat when media recognized Habitat’s noble task. An article regarding the bamboo housing program was published on Dec 1, 2006 in the national daily, “Purbanchal Rastra Dainik”. This very article showed how bamboo housing has given rise to a new mode of shelter to Bhumika Rai and also the future prospects of the program. The article is also posted in the blog.
Another article regarding the same program was also published in the Nepali paper, “Samaya” on December 14, 2006. The article also discussed about similar roles of bamboo and also the viewpoint of many social workers. Habitat’s new method of building better houses climbed up one more step through this new program of bamboo housing initiated by Habitat, Nepal. It’s through the support from everyone around the world that we will be able to build better living.


Anonymous said...

how funny,
I saw a lecture at NSDA office in Vancouver about the trip to Nepal.
And now I am finishing my architecture degree in Berlin and researched the topic bamboo.
It is so good to see the pics from nepal which I saw originally at NSDA office.


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