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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.


Mundo Exchange is constantly alerted by our community partners about individuals and families in dire need of a safe home.

A Success Story:

This family was brought to our attention by a community member who is also part of a local association. The family consisting of the mother, father, and three young boys lived in nothing more than a dilapidated  tin and wooden open air home with only three walls and exposed electric cables. During rainy season they were virtually unprotected from the elements and prone to mold, insects and flooding. The family never had any privacy and without a front wall there is no protection from natural elements or potentially dangerous predators – human or animal.

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

Nuan and Jong only have one grown son, the three boys they are raising are actually nephews they have adopted and raise as their own children. Due to failing economy and family sitations, Nuan’s sisters are unable to care for their children, and Nuan and Jong have taken the boys in. Nuan works full time at a hotel and Jong is self employed and works part time so he has time to take the boys to school and pick them up after.

Every child deserves to grow up in an environment that fosters healthy development.

Many days Nuan and Jong struggle to provide enough food for their three growing boys and themselves. If it had been raining the night before, no one got a good nights rest due to constant leaks in the house, especially above their sleeping mats. 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 could still smile and find joy in knowing there are people that care. Mundo recently renovated  their home with high cement flooring as an elevated base, sturdy walls, a locking door, windows and a leak free roof. We would like to give a special thank you to Nancy, our angel donor, for donating $1,000 to create a safe home for Nuan, Jong, and the boys. Thank you for helping us give this family the comfort of being able to fall asleep knowing they will be safe and dry at night! Your donation provided a roof to keep them dry.

Thank you to the many other donors who contributed to this project. You helped this family, and you helped with community development, child safety,and family care in rural Thailand.

You can see more details about this past project  and the family here. Thank you for helping us us bring basic needs to this family and more  in this area!

While this house is done, we will continue to provide renovations and safety features to other homes in need of repair in the Issan area.

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.