Two engineering graduates developed an affordable brick made from the rubble of war. This will allow citizens affected by the Israeli blockade to rebuild their homes.
Two engineering graduates from the Islamic University of Gaza developed an eco-friendly brick made from the rubble of war that will allow people to rebuild their homes and community. According to Inhabitat, Majd Mashharawi and Rawan Abddllaht were inspired to create an accessible building material when confronted with the reality that an Israeli blockade poses.
Reportedly, Israel has installed a blockade to suppress Hamas, the militant Islamic group that has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007. Every object – no matter how small – that goes in and out of Gaza is documented. This is so the Israel Defense Forces can prevent Hamas from building new tunnels through which to smuggle arms. The blockade is highly controversial and is believed to adversely affect the Palestinian people. In fact, the UN has said the siege amounts to collective punishment in violation international humanitarian law.
Nonetheless, it remains. In effect, importing construction materials is oftentimes a demeaning, expensive, and time-consuming process. It’s for this reason that Abddllaht and Mashharawi collaborated to create a building block which could be constructed from materials within the city. Because Gaza has endured three wars within the past 10 years, there’s one item that is prevalent: rubble.
It took more than six months for the engineers to develop the right formula, but they finally succeeded. Said Majd:
“When we first got the minimum required strength of standard building blocks, I was about to have a heart shock from happiness to know that I just became one step closer to my dream and goal in this life, which is leaving a fingerprint and making the world a better place to live in, starting from developing my home country Gaza.”
Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty of demand for the affordable bricks. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed in conflict and hundreds of thousands of buildings suffered minor damage during the last decade. According to a 2015 UNRWA report, the agency has only received funding to construct 200 of the 9,061 houses totally destroyed.” Now that word has spread of the girls’ ingenious method of creating eco-friendly building blocks, there’s a demand for 40,000 of the bricks per day.
The girls launched a crowdfunding campaign to increase production of their GreenCake bricks. Because the building blocks are made from rubble, they are said to cost half as much as standard bricks and are also lightweight. Learn more (and perhaps support the initiative) here.
The girls failed numerous times while attempting to create the bricks, but didn’t give up. Thanks to their perseverance and ingenuity, the people of Gaza may have a real chance at rebuilding their city.
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