Through the Soe Ker Tie House project we met children of the Karen minority who have had the worst imaginable start in their lives. Through the atrocities of the military junta in Burma, they have lost their families, their homes and their identities.
According to UNHCR more than 40 million people have been forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution worldwide. The refugee situation on the Thai-Burmese border is just a small part of a much larger problem in a world of extreme poverty and social injustice.
Through personal involvement in our projects we establish a framework for mutual exchange of knowledge and skills. By introducing basic, but crucial principles like bracing, moisture prevention and material economization, our project work as examples to be used by local workers in their future projects. Because all the people involved in our projects are acticely participating in both the design and building-process everyone develops a sense of ownership and pride towards the project. This socially sustainable approach ties in with global challenges on a much bigger scale.
All the materials used in these projects are collected close to the site or purchased from local markets. It is crucial to identify and use local resources to ensure that the project will have long-term ripple-effects that can lead to a positive development. A project based on locally available materials and knowledge enables people to continue the effort on their own terms without creating a dependency to outside funding and resources.
We are currently working on several new projects in Haiti, Sumatra, Thailand and the Philippines. Socially responsible architect-students from all around the world are invovled, working hands on; with clear minds and open hearts.