This seems a time when out-of-the-box creativity is sorely needed to solve some of our more intractable global problems. Cambodia, for example, is fighting to move away from poverty, but many families still struggle day by day to find food and safe water enough for their families and adequate shelter.
And HUSK is there to help, supported by the owners of Sojourn Boutique Villas. HUSK “works directly with communities to help improve the lives of Cambodian families. Our goals focus around the basics of providing access to safe water, livelihood opportunities, health, education and environment.”
The directors are all volunteers and only local Khmer staff are paid by HUSK, which focuses on the basics – food, water and a safe place to stay.
That’s where the eco brinks come in.
Like so many impoverished countries, once outside the larger tourist areas, the problem of trash becomes obvious. Away from the main tourist parts of Siem Reap, rubbish collection is simply not available. Even when it is, families cannot always afford to take advantage of it. It doesn’t help that there is a serious lack of awareness or education about environmental issues.
The waste is left scattered around villages or in most cases burnt –both options are undesirable. Litter has become a major community health issue across Cambodia.
Enter eco bricks!
HUSK searched for a solid solution to the very real pollution problems caused by excessive rubbish. They discovered that plastic bottles (one of the biggest contributors) as well as other trash could be used as building materials. They set out to build the first bottle buildings from these ‘eco’ bricks in Cambodia.
The idea is to fill each bottle with ‘clean’ throwaway items such as straws, plastic bags and polystyrene trays to begin to create each eco brick. The bricks are then bound together with chicken wire before the entire construction is fixed with cement and painted. The end result is a building that looks to be made of actual bricks.
Brilliant – two birds, one brick!
So far, HUSK has used more than 100,000 bottles to create a medical center, three classrooms, an income generation workshop, a toilet block and fencing, while at the same time spreading this invaluable idea to other communities.
They have other projects focusing on education, safe water and more. As a visitor, you, too, can be a part of the solution with their Day in a Life project. You have the unique opportunity to step inside the shoes of a villager and share a day in their community. This adventure allows you to meet and interact with local people in a respectful and meaningful way, help your host family with a work project and share lunch with them.
Experience these special destinations in our new 15-day The Land, The People of Vietnam & Cambodia.