Hand Over: Radwa Rostom's answer to Egypt's slum problem

The Hand Over initiative aims to rid Cairo of its slums using eco-friendly, human-centred design.

From the Series

Hand Over, the brainchild of Egyptian civil engineer Radwa Rostom, aims to build sustainable, resilient and affordable houses for low-income families in Egyptian slums. The project uses environmentally friendly earth materials to change the lives of Cairo’s most impoverished communities.

The residents in Cairo’s slums live in homes made of tin sheets, sometimes brick or stones, roofed by steel sheets or cardboard. These homes are poorly constructed and lack proper ventilation, sanitation and insulation. They are also overcrowded, which can lead to the spread of disease.

Rostom’s initiative uses a human-centred approach to empower architecture and civil engineering students along with the local residents of slum areas. Together they will design and build sustainable houses through internship programs, training and workshops.

“The local residents will be taught how to build their own houses with their own hands and they will live in better living condition, in a sustainable, affordable and durable houses,” Rostom told Change Makers.

The first part of Rostom’s initiative will see the building of a prototype home using rammed earth construction in a slum area called Abu-Qarn. The second phase involves a micro-finance scheme that will provide those in need with loans, which only need to be repaid over a long period of time.

“One of the very positive outcomes is that I am trying to deliver the message that nothing is impossible. Even if the issue seems hopeless and requires a huge effort, you can at least take a small step and try to solve it,” says Rostom.

Rostom plans to eventually expand to several villages and districts across all slum areas in Egypt.

All images courtesy of The Do School.

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