BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「A World of Safe Housing for All.」

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Elizabeth Hausler

For Elizabeth Hausler, safe housing is a basic human right. When quake-vulnerable housing collapses in a disaster, she argues, humans - not nature - are to blame. By thoroughly overhauling the approach to homebuilding, Hausler is working to make safe construction a reality.

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Support for one flight to one of our countries of operation will enable quake-resistant retrofitting of schools, protecting 100 children in Indonesia and Guatemala.

Elizabeth Hausler

STORY OF CHANGEMAKING

When I saw the tragedy unleashed by quake-vulnerable housing I knew what I had to do

imageMy father ran a construction company, so construction and building things were familiar to me from childhood. Naturally I studied civil engineering in undergraduate and graduate school. I loved solving technical problems. But I wanted to do something that brought me in touch with people.

In 2001 the Indian state of Gujarat was hit by a massive earthquake. When I saw the huge loss of life caused by poorly built housing, I was shocked. Everyone should have the right to live in a safe home. This was no natural disaster -- it was a man-made tragedy. I had all this knowledge and experience in building and I was casting around for a way to deploy it.

In 2003, I went as a Fulbright scholar to India, and while helping with post-earthquake recovery I studied the reconstruction. I realized the problem was not purely technical. NGOs donated housing, but people were very unsatisfied with their new homes. No attempt had been made to adapt the homes to local climate and customs. For example, in this area people were accustomed to having their toilets outdoors, but many of the donated houses had indoor toilets. This sort of aid, I thought, was utterly meaningless.

Overturning 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. By training locals in basic architecture and construction, they were empowered to take responsibility and monitor safety, and help spot misuse of funds and corruption; reducing man-made disasters. Also, by hiring local engineers and builders, we contribute to local economies.

I wanted to completely transform the approach to homebuilding, so in 2004, I founded Build Change. Our main activities are providing low-cost, highly earthquake-resistant designs, and training locals in the essentials of safe construction. Whether the trainee is a poor farmer, an engineer or an NGO worker, our methods are designed to be accessible to all.

Safe homes and schools for 10 million people. But that's just the start

imageBuild Change's first project was in Indonesia after the tsunami, in 2004. Since then we have expanded to Haiti, the Philippines, China (through 2011), Colombia, Guatemala and Nepal. We are now active in six countries. To date we have built 48,738 disaster-resistant buildings, making 245,026 people safer. This has generated jobs for 10,956 engineers and builders, and we have provided training to 25,363 people. But this isn't enough. Our next goal is to build safer housing and schools for 10 million people over the next 10 years.

Until now we have devoted our energy to getting the technical aspects right, and haven't been able to focus on publicizing what we do. But it's critical to get our message and techniques out there. There are still huge numbers of people in need of safe homes and schools around the world. We will keep working to ensure that, more people can live in safe homes, work in safe buildings, study in safe schools.

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PROFILE

Portrait of Elizabeth Hausler

Elizabeth Hausler

Traveled to India in 2001 to assist with and study reconstruction after the Gujarat earthquake. Realizing that local residents needed to be armed with knowledge of safe building techniques to prevent building collapse, she founded Build Change in 2004. 70% of managers at Build Change are women. Many trainers the company employs are also female. To ward off jet lag, Hausler relies on running and yoga.

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ANA BLUE WING
2017.12.01
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Elizabeth on Her Management Style "Nowadays my job is to build relationships and partnerships, raise money, and work with our board. It is very managerial. There are good and bad things about that. I miss the direct interaction with homeowners and builders, but it's also very rewarding to see other people get rewards and inspiration themselves from doing that. So now we have multiple people doing implementation rather than just me, and our team is greater than the sum of its parts." Support ANA BLUE WING and help Elizabeth's team achieve more. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.11.04
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13 is not unlucky for Build Change In 13 years, Build Change has grown from being a single hands-on engineer-bricklayer to having nearly 200 staff from 13 countries who have trained 27,800 people in the basics of safe construction; created 12,300 local jobs; and created 51,200 safer buildings in 12 countries, with the 257,600 people living and working in them all now safe from building collapse in earthquakes. 42 other organizations now follow their methods. That's Changemaking! https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.10.20
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Elizabeth’s other favorite book? President Obama's mother S. Ann Dunham's PHD thesis, on cottage industries in Indonesia was published as a book called "Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia”. Elizabeth says: "We've been working in Indonesia for all these years, not only to build safe buildings, but also to create jobs, so I'm keen to start reading her book. Her work feels close to mine in intent, heart and spirit." https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.10.18
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Building Change in Mexico Rebuilding in Mexico hadn't been part of Build Change's action plan for 2017, but training local builders, rebuilding, and refitting houses and schools to prevent future earthquake deaths is an important part of the recovery process. Right now the Build Change Latin America team is on site assessing the damage caused by September's earthquakes, and they need your help. Support ANA BLUE WING and they'll get it. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.10.08
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Skill and knowledge are different things Elizabeth grew up in a small town outside of Chicago, worked for her father as a bricklayer, and learned how to lay bricks by doing it on-the-job. She says: "You can't teach a builder how to lay bricks just by showing him or her how to do it. They actually have to do the work and learn on the job. Other organizations would say: oh, just do a demonstration; just train people for a week; show them how to do it and they'll be fine. Well, there's a difference between knowing in theory how to do something, and actually having the skill to do it. Other organizations had the knowledge but lacked skill and did poor work. Our builders get it right first time." https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING

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