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Häuser für Waisenkinder e.V.

Concept of the aims and operation of the charity

1 Context

Africa is the continent that is most affected by HIV. The "unofficial" HIV rate is over 30 percent.
Parents die in large numbers – often very young. Social-support is only available to a limited few and is increasingly failing.

Some children are taken in by relatives, but due to the high mortality rate many are left to fend for themselves without any family or support. These children are unable to grow up in a family context, with no chance of an education and therefore no chance of a qualified profession. A life of poverty, under-development and often crime is therefore pre-destined.

2 Project goals

The charity builds homes for orphans and runs them in a sustainable fashion. These homes are constructed using the art of clay-building. Thus, construction costs are reduced and jobs are created during construction and subsequent operation. Parallel to this, training is offered in the art of clay-building with a view to this providing a profession with which to gain future employment. To encourage women, the project promotes women's and gender-equality components.


3 Project Approach

Initially the project creates a sound and sustainable home for orphaned children through the construction and operation of the buildings. Here they will be given the chance to grow up in a sheltered environment. With this foundation achieved they increase their chances of attaining a school education and following that vocational training. In this family-like structure, the children can find safety and secure foundations for a sustainable future.


4 Project implementation

The buildings will be constructed using a special art of clay-building. Although the culture of clay-building is present in almost all African countries it is more developed in some countries than others. The clay-buildings in Kenya, for example, are not very durable whereby in West Africa they are built to a very high quality. These buildings are very durable, as can be seen by the large presence of such homes and the still surviving ancient clay-buildings.

In applied clay-building technology, durability is achieved by a special kind of treatment as well as through the use of a custom design. Traditional clay-building techniques are being modified and transferred to East Africa. This sets the scene for an intra-African transfer of technologies and exchange of knowledge. Through the use of clay as a building material, the project has environmental, economic and social aspects, all of which are detailed below.

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4.1 Construction of residential buildings

Ecological aspect

The buildings are created using a durable clay-building technique where the clay is prepared and processed directly. The firing of clay for bricks, requiring vital wood resources, is not necessary. Therefore air pollution and the consumption of firewood can be prevented. Likewise, the use of cement is significantly reduced, as cement and plastering are not required. The consumption of primary energy is drastically reduced by the use of clay.

The special properties of clay produce a comfortable interior climate. Unfired clay regulates temperature and moisture, therefore the quality of living is significantly better than in conventional masonry buildings. The buildings are supplied with electricity via photovoltaic systems.


Economic aspect

Suitable clay for building houses can be found almost everywhere in Africa and is usually easily accessed. The transport distances are short and the work can be carried out by the local population. Under guidance, many activities can be carried out by unskilled people. Through the use of locally available materials, significant cost-reductions in construction can be achieved. Expensive cement for concrete, mortar and plaster works is largely dispensed with. A bag of cement is about twice as expensive in the project area, Siaya, as it is in Germany.


Social / socio-political aspect

Clay-building is more labour-intensive than building with conventional materials, since prior to processing the clay must be mined, transported and treated. Therefore, jobs will be created during the construction period. Because a lot of the work can be performed by untrained people, this provides a chance of employment to those without qualifications. During the implementation of the project women will be given a particular focus and support. Accompanying the construction is a vocational training program, which provides a qualification as a ‘clay-building technician’. This training has been developed by us, and through its introduction we seek to initiate a renaissance in the art of clay-building. Thus, the poorer population has the opportunity to build inexpensive, durable and sustainable residential buildings.


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4.2 Operation of the residential buildings

The homes built for orphans will be operated and sustained by us. However, they will be primarily staffed by the local population. Children without families will be provided with a solid foundation, where they can grow up in a family-like structure and obtain an education.

These are the foundations for a sustainable future.

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4.3 Advancement of Women

We believe that sustainable development in modern Africa is not possible without gender equality. Experience has shown that involvement and identification with the project in women is higher than in men. Women's projects, or projects with a high proportion of women, have been carried out to greater success. In our current project, the percentage of women is at least 60%.

The women involved are already included in the planning of the building to ensure that the planned residential space satisfies their requirements in its later use. Through the women’s involvement from an early stage of the construction a high degree of identification with the project is achieved. This is an important prerequisite for a successful and sustainable operation.

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4.4 Vocational Training

We offer young people training for a newly created occupation, the ‘clay-building technician’. Through this they will have the opportunity to earn a livelihood in a very tight labour market, where official figures state 50% unemployment.

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5 Summary

Due to the high number of HIV sufferers a wide-reaching project has been designed with great sustainability.

The concept of "a residential building for orphans" built using inexpensive and sustainable clay-building techniques, job creation and the special involvement of women, is completed by professional training in the art of clay-building as well as the operation of the project using local staff.

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