Vietnam Time

7/10/2019 12:51:08 AM

East Meets West builds climate-resilient houses for poor communes

The Compassion Homes Program of East Meets West/Thrive Networks is a cost-effective approach to assist vulnerable families to prepare for the effects of climate change by building more flood-proof and storm-resistant houses.

Families who live in poorly constructed dwellings face increasing threats from rising tides, destructive flooding, and more frequent and powerful storms. Photo: East Meets West/Thrive Networks

Since 2010, Thrive has been building Compassion Homes in 12 provinces of Vietnam, including Quang Nam, Thanh Hóa, and Da Nang. The program helps families face climate change with climate-resilient homes that combine architectural elements such as elevated foundations above flood levels, enhanced drainage, and improved ventilation to withstand high winds, and with locally appealing and appropriate designs.

Each Compassion Home has brick walls, cement floors, tile roofs, windows and doors with wooden frames and steel sheets, and an electrical system. The materials used meet high-quality construction standards that, when put together, can withstand climate crisis and continue to serve families for years. The families contribute their labor to the house-building process, lessening construction cost and creating an opportunity to strengthen their relationships with Thrive as well.

With a house as a foundation for their lives – with space for shared meals, rest, and meaningful interactions – families more easily benefit from the installation of toilet and water connections, improving their hygiene, sanitation and overall health. So far, Thrive has built 600 Compassion Homes, averaging 50-60 homes each year since 2010.

Huynh Tan Dat, a local resident Binh Sa commune (Quang Nam province) was one of many families benefited from the project. Come typhoon season, strong winds would rip the small brick house roof off. They didn’t have electricity nor a bathroom, and the temporary wall and roofing worsened the condition during scorching summers. They belonged to the poorest in the commune, where local residents earn 10 USD per month on average, and so home improvements were out of the question.

Since building and moving into their very own Compassion Home, they no longer worry about storms or floods. With the improved living conditions, his family is able to better direct their resources to other foundational needs like food, medicine, education, savings, and sanitation./.

  
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