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School building, Kibera, phase 1: Development of a prototype

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Start Somewhere is a non-profit organization for promoting development aid.

O. von Malm from Start Somewhere gemeinnützige GmbHWrite a message

Please find the english version of our video here: https://vimeo.com/178308123

Hello, I’m Oliver von Malm. An architect from Innsbruck, Austria. I have spent most of my career working in some of Oslo's, London's and Beijing’s largest architectural offices. But it was a travel to Africa that showed me, where my passion truly lies. 

Kibera in Nairobi is one of the world’s largest slums. During my first visit there in 2011, I was particularly impressed by a group of teachers. Who not only worked pro bono but also chosed to live there. This all moved me to START SOMEWHERE - which also became the name of my non-profit organisation. I first started to help the schools in the slum. And a lot has happened since. The teachers get paid. We’ve built a terrace, so the kids don’t have to play in the sewage system. The donation of a mechanical sewing machine started a sewing room. Now the parents earn a little bit of money and they’ve sewn school uniforms for their kids. There are new education materials. And a fundamental medical care is guaranteed through a cooperation with Doctors without boarders.

2011 we had 80 pupils. Today they are 600. The school building is bursting at the seams. It is really hot inside the building because it was built without windows. There are not enough toilets - and the ones that are there - are dirty and stink. The kitchen is unhygienic. So, with all these facts - the slum dwellers asked me to build a new school. 

My architectural master thesis is "just" the draft. The slum dwellers will build the school themselves. I want to teach them how to produce the elements for the building. To teach them how to read an open source blueprint that I’ve especially designed for this project. To teach them how to change the blueprint and construct a building on any site around the slum –no matter what shape the property has. 

Lowtec architecture creates a pleasant indoor climate. A solar chimney enables air circulation that cools down the rooms when the inner temperature exceeds the outer temperature. 

At the moment the school’s corrugated iron roof absorbs the heat and the classrooms temperature often passes 120 degrees / 50 C°. With a cheap insulating foil and rear ventilation we can prevent that heat from entering the building. Dry toilets will make it more hygienic. Long pipelines at the walls can be filled with humus to grow tomatoes. And the terrace on the first floor has space for more gardening projects. 

The donated money won’t just built a house. 

It will create a system to improve the life of the slum dwellers. The costs will massively shrink from the second house on. There will be work: in their own factory for prefabricated parts and their construction company. 

To make all of this happen - I need your help. This is why I set up this donation campaign. Let’s START SOMEWHERE.


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