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
2020.02.24
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New Excellence in Engineering Fellow   Build Change and Simpson Strong-Tie announced the recipient of the 2019-2020 Excellence in Engineering Fellowship, Tim Hart, who has 30 years of structural engineering and building construction experience. The goal of the fellowship is to design solutions for making structures safer and stronger while allowing innovative engineers to make meaningful contributions in developing nations around the world. “Build Change’s mission and values are in line with my own. I want to use my skills as a structural engineer to directly help people who are vulnerable to catastrophic loss from climate disasters. It’s a man-made problem with a man-made solution, and I want to be a part of that solution,” Tim said.   ANA BLUE WING supports founder and CEO of Build Change Dr.Elizabeth Hausler and her dreams to make this world better by subsidizing her airfares. For more information about Build Change’s projects, please visit our website. https://bit.ly/2vP46EE #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2020.02.22
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IBM Code and Response + Build Change in Nepal   IBM Code and Response joined up with Build Change for a design thinking workshop in Nepal. The goal of the workshop was to help Build Change think through how to advance quickly with a construction quality mobile app designed specifically for Colombia. To do this, the team focused not just on the technical aspects of the app development, but also on the users of the app and what they are looking to accomplish through a home strengthening project.   ANA BLUE WING supports founder and CEO of Build Change Dr.Elizabeth Hausler and her dreams to make this world better by subsidizing her airfares. For more information about Build Change’s projects, please visit our website. https://bit.ly/2V5lgbW #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2020.02.22
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Boxing Day Tsunami and Build Change   The Boxing Day Earthquake and Tsunami struck coastal communities around the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, leaving hundreds of thousands of dead. As a part of the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the disaster, Build Change recently looked back at its work in Banda Aceh, one of the affected communities. Even though Build Change had only existed as an organization for a few months at the time of the earthquake and tsunami, the organization rushed in to offer engineering expertise when it was most needed. Build Change’s home designs (like the blue house pictured) went on to win awards for the best in post-disaster reconstruction in Banda Aceh. ANA BLUEWING always admires their quick response of Build Change at their needs.   ANA BLUE WING supports founder and CEO of Build Change Dr.Elizabeth Hausler and her dreams to make this world better by subsidizing her airfares. For more information about Build Change’s projects, please visit our website. https://bit.ly/2uQf4df #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2019.12.29
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What to Learn Through Excellence in Engineering Fellowship   For the past two years, Simpson Strong-Tie has sponsored an Excellence in Engineering Fellowship to support Build Change’s work around the globe. The fellow for 2019, Juan Carlos Restrepo, recently completed his fellowship in Colombia and the Philippines. Reflecting back on the fellowship in this blog post (https://bit.ly/2SlcCob) Juan Carlos was thankful for the opportunity to feel the direct impact of his engineering work on homeowners in need. He was also grateful for the support of Build Change’s international leadership team, including Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, for helping him maintain perspective on the challenge of building more resilient communities. With nearly a third of the world’s population living in vulnerable housing, there is much more work to be done, and hopefully, many more fellows to come!   For more information about Elizabeth’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2snVGmi #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2019.12.10
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We Need to Make Existing Housing Better Elizabeth recently headlined Autodesk University Las Vegas, which was attended by more than 12,000 people, with a powerful message about the role of technology in resilient housing. "We can't scale just by building MORE housing—we need to make existing housing BETTER," she said. Watch Elizabeth’s full keynote, and stay tuned to the end for the announcement of a surprise new contribution to Build Change from Autodesk Foundation. https://youtu.be/S3XPhGx5EbE   For more information about Elizabeth’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2DHDTc7 #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2019.12.08
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The 3 C's Behind Quality Housing Elizabeth was recently a guest on Denver Frederick’s radio show Business of Giving (the conversation they had was later published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy) in which she shared the most important practices to building safe homes that you don’t typically find in substandard housing: https://bit.ly/2szKUt7 "The first C is configuration. Build a simple square, a symmetric house with no huge openings, or heavy mass above your head. Follow very simple configuration rules. The second C is connections. Everything has to be connected together. Especially for a hurricane, the roof has to be tied down to the walls. For an earthquake, all of the walls have to be connected together. The third C is construction quality. So good quality building materials, good quality workmanship, good quality bricklaying, everything that goes into the quality of construction."   For more information about Elizabeth’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2LmKE7d #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth

CHANGEMAKER