Rice Bag House in Nepal
Raise the Roof is a safe housing project which began in June 2015, two months after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which destroyed 90 percent of homes in the rural villages near the epicentre of the earthquake. According to Channel NewsAsia, half a million homes were destroyed, leaving millions of people living in the open and in need of assistance and protection. (Channel NewsAsia, 2017)
We did not want to build a typical modern house as it is very expensive to transport the building materials up to the mountain villages. Often, there are no accessible roads and it may take 3-6 hours to trek up the mountains.
Our team used a construction methodology which does not require bricks which form the bulk of the building materials, and also does not require skilled masons. We decided that the earthbag construction method was suitable and we named it “rice bag” as we are more familiar with rice bags than earth bags.
We constructed a total of 57 Rice bag houses in Dhuseni and Gorkha districts
The rice bag house is a success and the Nepal Government has approved the earthbag house as one of the designs the affected villagers can use. They have also agreed to give a 300,000 rupees grant (S$4,000) to the villagers whose house was wrecked by the earthquake. We decided to shift our strategy from building the rice bag house to teaching the villagers how to build the rice bag house since they can get the grant from the government.