Against All Odds
“I remembered a documentary I had seen… on building using plastic bottles, and thought, ‘Why not try that?’”
A master’s graduate in Energy Efficiency, young Sahrawi refugee Tateh Lehbib Breica built his very first circular shaped home with discarded bottles filled with sand in Southwest Algeria. Born and raised in Awserd refugee camp, the 27 year old is well familiar with the challenge and shortfalls of traditional adobe houses in withstanding the harsh desert climate. Breica envisioned a circular home that can better withstand sand storms with its aerodynamic shape, and used recycled plastic bottles filled with sand that provides much greater structural durability and water resistance against prolonged exposure to rain.
After the October 2015 heavy rains that damaged and destroyed tens of thousands of adobe houses, UNHCR has been working with the Sahrawis on improving construction techniques to better withstand the severe weather of this region. “We have been supporting the use of bricks fortified by cement, and now we are supporting the use of plastic bottles,” says Juliette Murekeyisoni, Senior Field Coordinator for UNHCR in Tindouf.
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