An astonishing 47 percent of Egypt’s slums are in Cairo, where 6 million inhabitants are living in a chronically underdeveloped environment. A group of dedicated engineering students is working to create a sustainable housing project, and right now, they are looking for your help to complete the prototype. The efforts are spearheaded by engineer Radwa Roston who, together with a group of international experts, has developed an education and training program called Hand Over. The program’s goal is to teach locals the skills they need to implement rammed earth housing design, a sustainable building option. The program empowers impoverished Egyptians to improve their own lives and communities. The first house is soon to break ground for one family, and the project has a fundraising campaign going on right now to help build houses for even more families. Take peek at the concept after the break and then consider giving the project a hand with a donation.
The government is trying to create 42,000 living units for the people who are most at risk, but the proposals are large, dehumanizing apartment blocks which sever the residents from the communities they have created. Hand Over’s alternative is to create better living conditions, one home at a time.
According to the project’s website, “Hand Over is composed of local and international experts developed a comprehensive training program that will be delivered to the engineering students/graduates. It will introduce them to the sustainable techniques of construction, especially the rammed earth technique. Simultaneously, the local residents will receive workshops and training for the implementation so that they will know how to build their own houses with their own hands and they can gain a new skill, which will help them in sustaining an additional source of income.”
Residents are expected to help with construction and pay off the costs with a low-cost payment plan, which in turn will help finance additional projects. Hand Over is a sub-project from Ezbet Project, a comprehensive urban development program in the informal settlement of Ezbet Abu-Qarn. The program has been developed in the last two years under the German-Egyptian partnership between Städtebau Institut Prof. Dr. Helmut Bott, Stuttgart University, Alashanek Ya Balady for Sustainable Development, and the Urban Planning and Design Department at Ain Shams University, Cairo. It started as a youth-driven project that follows innovative participatory techniques to promote sustainable community developmental through academia.