While we often get wrapped up in our busy lives, we often forget that in some parts of the world, simply having a roof over your head is a luxury. This is the reality for large communities in India where often families and children are living in slums.
Prasoon Kumar, a passionate young social entrepreneur determined to do something about it. The architect has had the experience of designing thousands of luxury homes throughout his career, but as his career progressed he felt frustrated for that for every luxury home he designed, thousands of people couldn’t even find shelter.
In 2013, Prasoon decided to quit his job to start Billion Bricks, a social enterprise dedicated to finding a scalable and sustainable way to shelter the homeless. Their first projects were in Mumbai, where 60 percent of the population resides in slums. From that an estimated 150,000 homeless individuals cannot even afford a place in the slums.
Billion Bricks created weatherHYDE, a unique insulated shelter designed to protect homeless families from the extreme elements of cold and heat during Mumbai’s harsh winter and summer. One example is that of 23-year-old Khushi, who had grown up homeless. WeatherHYDE provided her first home.
Also in India, Re-Materials is using trash to solve this huge housing problem. As most people cannot afford expensive concrete roofing, they depend on toxic metal sheets as a roof over their head. During the monsoon seasons, the heavy rain against the metal sheets means the roof leaks, and it can become impossible to sleep due to the noise. On top of that, in the summer these sheets trap the heat making it unbearably hot.
Hasit, the founder Re-Materials, found a solution. He started Re-Materials, a social enterprise in Gujarat that uses locally-sourced agricultural and plastic waste to create eco-friendly modular roofs (ModRoof). These roofs are strong, waterproof and durable and resolves some of the main housing problems in the bottom-of-pyramid (BOP) communities.
Modroof has been increasing in popularity and Re-Materials continue to innovate to keep the cost low for those who really need it. For the 65 million people living in slums across India, Hasit is reinventing their experience of their home and quality of living.
Perhaps it is time for us to also revisit our concept of a home and what it means to us?