An 80-year-old architect helped build more than 50,000 earthquake-resistant, eco-friendly houses for families who lost their homes after the Pakistan quake. She also gave them a job to earn a living.
Knowledge at the service of the community.
We are talking about Yasmeen Lari, the first woman architect in her country and who has helped thousands of people in an altruistic way: teaching them to build and work creating clay tiles.
The main idea was that if the houses were damaged, they could reuse many of the materials to rebuild and not have to wait for international help. In the end, for a family, the most important thing is to have a roof.
In 2005 , an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit northern Pakistan , killing 80,000 people and leaving 400,000 families unprotected.
“I felt I had to go and help”
“I had no idea what I could do as an architect. He had never done any disaster work, or any projects in the mountains. He had no manpower, he had left my practice. But I found that if you do something beyond your usual comfort zone, help will always come.”
Lari worked with affected families to rebuild their homes using mud, stone, lime and wood from the remaining rubble.
Through volunteers, he trained the local population on how to use whatever materials were available to rebuild more safely.
An ecological home and ready to inhabit.
The intention is to maintain a construction with basic and ecological materials, that is, that any person with basic knowledge of construction and design can build their own house.
This will allow the community to integrate while maintaining a minimum expense.
These principles have allowed large-scale projects to be carried out within the country. Built 50,000 zero-carbon one-bedroom houses and 70,000 low-carbon stoves along with dozens of zero-carbon toilets, benefiting 840,000 people over 5 years.
This architect has built thousands of eco-sustainable homes like these since 2005, as part of her Barefoot Social Architecture program.
Through this program, we seek to help thousands of impoverished families and groups in Pakistan, giving them a job and a place to live. Lari has called these future entrepreneurs as: Barefoot entrepreneurs.
“In the future, we must all defend a humanistic and inclusive architecture driven by environmental considerations, which treads lightly on the planet and responds to the needs of the majority”, he commented.
Not for nothing is this woman one of the most recognized architects, both for her work and social work. “The underprivileged and those living on the margins need more, not less, design to achieve a better quality of life,” she writes Lari.