BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「Fighting for the right to live in a safe house Because everyone in the world should feel safe at home」

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Elizabeth Hausler

For Elizabeth Hausler, safe housing is a basic human right. She argues humans are to blame for houses collapsing after an earthquake. Elizabeth created Build Change, which overhauled the approach to building homes. Their expertise is helping residents, engineers and governments in emerging countries.

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The BLUE WING Program allows me to protect 100 children in Indonesia and Guatemala to make their schools earthquake-proof

Elizabeth Hausler

STORY OF CHANGEMAKING

I realized my calling after seeing the collapsed housing after an earthquake.

imageMy father ran a construction company, so I loved construction and buildings since my childhood. Naturally I went on to study civil engineering as an undergraduate and onto graduate school. As I studied, I realized I wanted to be close to the people who use the buildings, and not become too technical.

In 2001, a massive earthquake hit the Indian state of Gujarat. When I saw the flattened houses, I was in great shock. Safe housing should be a human right. I realized this was not a natural disaster, but a manmade tragedy. I had to do something with the knowledge I possess. This was my calling.

In 2003, I went to India as a Fulbright scholar to help with post-earthquake recovery while doing research. I soon realized that technical issues did not cause the damage. At the time, NGO groups had donated housing, but the residents were dissatisfied. No one had bothered to ask them what they wanted. The housing did not meet the local climate or customs. For example, in this area, toilets were normally built outside of the house, but most of the donated housing had toilets inside. I felt this kind of aid was meaningless.

Breaking conventional wisdom about homebuilding to end man-made disasters

imageInstead of trying to impose foreign-designed houses on local residents, I decided it was essential to work closely with local residents and get them involved in rebuilding. This is important in building safe housing. By training the locals in basic architecture and construction, they are able to check if the housing is safe and spot the misuse of funds. If the residents themselves take safety into their own hands, there will be less man-made disasters. Also, by hiring local engineers and builders, we can contribute to local economies.

I wanted to fundamentally transform the approach to homebuilding, so in 2004, I founded Build Change. We mainly provide low-cost, highly earthquake-resistant designs and training of local residents, engineers and government officials. We even hold a bricklaying contest so we don’t forget to have fun. This actually dramatically improved the workers’ skills in building sturdy brick walls.

Safe homes and schools for 10 million people. It’s only the beginning.

imageBuild Change's first project was in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami. Since then we’ve expanded to Haiti, the Philippines, China (through 2011), Colombia, Guatemala and Nepal and are currently active in six countries. To date we have built 48,738 disaster-resistant buildings, providing safe homes to 245,026 people. This generated jobs for 10,956 engineers and builders; 25,363 workers received our training. But we are not done. Our next goal is to build safer housing and schools for 10 million people over the next 10 years.

Until now, I’ve devoted all my energy to providing the knowledge and technology, and have shied away from publicizing Build Change. But now I know the importance of getting our message out there and talk about what it is we do. I want to pass on our knowledge and expertise to as many people as we can. There are people all over the world who want safe housing and schools. We will not cease until everyone can live in safe housing, work in a safe environment and study in a safe school.

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PROFILE

Portrait of Elizabeth Hausler

Elizabeth Hausler

Resided in India in 2003 to assist with the rebuilding and study reconstruction after the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. After realizing that local residents should have knowledge to build safe housing, she founded Build Change in 2004. 70% of managers at Build Change are women. Many of the trainers are also female. To ward off jet lag, Hausler relies on running and yoga before flights.

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ANA BLUE WING
2018.07.10
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Elizabeth Hausler: A World of Safe Housing for All. For Elizabeth Hausler, living in safe housing is a basic human right. She considers damage caused by collapsed housing due to low earthquake resistance a manmade disaster and has thoroughly overhauled the approach to homebuilding from the ground up. The know-how of "Build Change" being led by her is now spreading to the residents, engineers and governments in developing countries. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.07.26
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Doing It Right the First Time After an earthquake there is a humanitarian rush to rebuild destroyed houses. But what if the new houses are just as poorly-built, weak and dangerous as the old ones? This is exactly what Elizabeth found in the Aceh province of Indonesia: she says some NGOs weren't paying attention to construction quality. They were rushing to build quickly and weren't checking to make sure the builders had built correctly; Elizabeth and her Build Change team saw sloppy masonry work, missing elements, and poor construction. This was infuriating and, quite understandably, homeowners were protesting about the poor quality. What's the point in building a new house that will simply collapse in the next earthquake, and that will need to be rebuilt again? They set out to change this situation. Support ANA BLUE WING and help Elizabeth get rebuilding right the first time, every time. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.04.10
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Lasting change comes from involving the top At first, Build Change worked very much with local people, from the bottom up, but then realized that to create really large scale change it's necessary to partner with government. Elizabeth says: "In most countries in which we work, the government's involved in housing, one way or another. If we're able to partner with the government and work from the top down at the same time, we can have a much bigger impact because there's more money to be leveraged; there is more finance available for people to strengthen their homes and build safely." Share this post and help raise governmental awareness of the success of partnering with social businesses like Build Change. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.03.03
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Independence is in my DNA Elizabeth is well aware of her independence streak. "It comes from my dad, who ran his own business. My sister also runs her own business. My family is like this: we don't want other people to tell us what to do! That's why I started my own social change project." Support ANA BLUE WING and help stubborn independents like Elizabeth change lives for the better. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.02.13
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Gupta and The Safe Building Application It takes more than just bricks and money to make infrastructure earthquake-proof. Professional engineers, trained builders, and information on safe building techniques are all vital, but how do rural people in poor areas get access to them? Answer: via cheap modern technology. Enter Khusbhu Gupta, Computer Engineer and Programmer, who managed Build Change's FULCRUM app that provides construction advice, quality monitoring, and real-time communications between local people, engineers, builders, and project managers. FULCRUM makes communications efficient and productive; Khusbhu worked with FULCRUM for the Build Change office in Nepal. Her fantastic work has earned her a full scholarship to pursue a Masters in Data Science at Mahidol University in Thailand. Share this story and help Build Change help more women change their lives. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.01.29
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My Son Changed Me One of the reasons Build Change has started working on schools is that Elizabeth has a 5-year-old son. "When he was born it made me think differently about education, about educational infrastructure, and about how devastating it would be to lose your child in an earthquake. It made the loss much easier to imagine; more direct, and personal to me. It has evolved my thinking, and Build Change's direction with it." https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING

CHANGEMAKER