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Mothers constructing houses for their families in Colombia

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La Sirena is a settlement located in the outskirts of the city of Cali (Colombia, South America). People from different regions, who were displaced by violence or whose dreams were to come to the big city to look for employment opportunities, started to settle in this area several years ago. La Sirena is a place where most families live under poverty or extreme poverty conditions. Living in degraded houses without basic living conditions is one of the most difficult situations that many families must daily face. Women heads of households and their children are particularly vulnerable. Having a new house, built with strong materials where families can feel safe and protected from the external environment, is the dream of these women. A dream can only be achieved with the help of many people. Thanks to many dream enablers, a building technology that allows women to participate in the construction of their own houses has been developed. The construction system is confined/reinforced masonry using compressed earth blocks. Women can participate in the production of the blocks and in the construction process itself, since the blocks weight is suitable for women. Besides, compressed earth blocks are environmentally-friendly and low-cost energy materials that have been used as construction alternatives in various developing countries in vulnerable areas. Blocks production is generally in situ with no emission of greenhouse. Thus, it’s known as a green building technology. Through this video, we want to share with you the beginning of this story that already started to change the life of our women. Our women are dreaming again: they are dreaming big and green!

By Mr Mauricio Linares and Ms Paola Vasquez at Genstainable, Cali Colombia
Action10 Program Partners

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