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Building Safer Homes

Lack of adequate housing for children, the sick, and elders is one of the most critical problems facing those living in poverty in Issan, Thailand.  Many homes are built haphazardly from scrap materials found nearby, and very few have doors, much less doors that lock. Every person has the right to safe, secure shelter that protects them from dangerous elements – both natural and human . Mundo Exchange teams up with local communities to ensure that every family has a roof over their heads.
$125 of $4,000 raised
Mundo Exchange is constantly alerted by our community partners about individuals and families in dire need of a safe home.
This family was brought to our attention last year by the local government. The family consisting of the mother, father, and two little girls aged 6 and 7 live in nothing more than a dilapidated tin box without any door or windows. In the summer the termperatures within the house rise to dangerous levels causing fear of heat stroke or dehydration; in the rainy season they are virtually unprotected from the elements and prone to mold, insects and flooding.

We at Mundo agreed that living in a house of this condition is de-humanizing, high-stress, emotionally draining, and physically dangerous for the family.

Recently the father, who was struggling with addiction, died suddenly of a heart attack-leaving behind a young mother struggling with severe health problems and their two little girls. While living he was unabe to provide for his family’s needs, creating only chaos and fear for his family. With him gone, this mother and her two 6 and 7 year old  girls are not only left to fend for themselves, but are without a safe home to live in. They are now completely vulnerable to outside predators – human or animal.

Every woman and child deserves to feel safe in their own home. 

Many days these girls cannot attend school because they are out with their mother foraging for food to survive. These extreme living conditions lead to learning disavantages, lack of opportunities, feelings of inadequacy, malnutrition, and a deeper plunge into poverty. Yet aimdst all this turmoil they can still smile and find joy in knowing there are people that care. Mundo has already made plans to renovate their home with cement flooring both inside and out, a locking door, windows and a sturdy roof. Give this woman and her girls the comfort of being able to fall asleep knowing they will be safe that night.

Mundo Exchange's goal is to build or repair homes so that they are sturdy, safe, and secure from outside intruders.

How we decide

With such great need for safer homes to be built, its difficult to decide where to start. We typically place families with young children, those who are ill, and elders in priority. We roughly follow three main themes for assessing those most at risk.
1. Lighting and unsafe wires: Homes with poor or improperly installed electric create a hazardous environment. In many cases there are cords, cables and other wires exposed to the elements and placed in areas where they are likely to get caught up on or tripped over. Often times things are not installed correctly, and with dodgy electric wires exposed – during monsoon season especially – there is a high risk of fire, electrocution or tripping.

2. House design: Mundo’s first priority is homes without doors, windows or roofs, leaving families or individuals at a high risk of vulnerability. Many homes we come across have a flimsy metal sheet for a door that cannot be locked or properly closed. Children and women are especially at risk for abuse from predators.

3. Ease of mobility: Mundo Exchange is also concerned about mobility issues, especially for persons with disabilities and the elderly. For example, one project Mundo tackled was building a bathroom for an elderly couple; the woman was about 88 years old and blind, and her husband even older. They had to leave the house to use their squat toilet in a bathroom across the yard.  In rainy season it was so muddy it was inaccessible. Every person should be able to use the bathroom in a dignified way within their own home. We built a bathroom inside the home for this couple, complete with a western toilet and bars to help them sit down and stand up when using the toilet.