Adelaide, SA: Responding to Typhoon Yolanda, South Australian not-for-profit Off Grid Aid launches its “Philippines Eco Housing Project”, ambitiously aiming to empower Filipinos to build cost-effective, typhoon resistant housing using local materials. Commencing April 22nd, eight Australian and international volunteers will travel to the Philippines to run a 10-day building workshop in sustainable earth-bag and permaculture solutions. Earth-Bag building uses sandbags filled with stabilized earth, arranged in layers, organized in a curved configuration for superior bracing. Strands of barbed wire are placed between layers to act as mortar and structural reinforcement. Earth-bag structures have passed California earthquake and typhoon resistant testing.
(Left) Prototype for “Philippines Eco Housing Project” – To be built by Filipinos and volunteers during the April workshop.
(Right) A solitary post is all that remains of the Evacuation Centre in Sigma, Capiz, devastated by Typhoon Yolanda – the same town where volunteers will erect a new typhoon resistant prototype
Using an education-exchange approach, volunteers will work directly with locals to identify how these building technologies can be incorporated into traditional Filipino techniques. Working together they will build the first prototype; a much needed community day-care centre, doubling as an evacuation shelter. Filipinos will walk away with the knowledge and experience to use these new building skills in their local community.
“Whilst handouts are great for temporary relief,” says Off Grid Aid co-founder Adrian Paech, “such aid often lacks long-term benefit, resulting in many feeling frustrated and dependent. Filipinos need an opportunity to stand-up and take ownership of the solution. During our food relief effort in December we witnessed their ingenuity and drive, yet few had the income or skills to build an adequate solution. Our ultimate goal is to enable Filipinos to come together to build sustainable housing for each other.”
A second hands-on workshop is scheduled for October, training Filipinos in permaculture systems, covering self-sustainable water, sewerage, food and cooking facilities. From 2015, Off Grid Aid hopes to assist Filipinos in rolling out sustainable housing back in their respective towns.
Want to help or donate?
Off Grid Aid welcomes donations to help fund the cost of building and workshop activities. If you have ideas that could contribute, or wish to donate to our cause please visit our website, or find us on Facebook under “Off Grid Aid”.
About Off Grid Aid: Founded by South Australians Narissa Bernas and Adrian Paech, Off Grid Aid is facilitated by a group of deeply driven, holistic thinkers, ready to serve for the greater good. Instead of “handing out” fish to feed for a day, we strive to teach all to fish and feed for a lifetime.
Narissa Bernas (Left) and Adrian Paech (Centre), Co-Founders of Off Grid Aid helping Filipinos affected by Typhoon Yolanda in their first project, $5 to Feed A Family.
Adrian Paech (Centre), Co-Founder of Off Grid Aid helping Filipinos affected by Typhoon Yolanda in their first project, $5 to Feed A Family.