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Updated On: Friday, November 24 2017

iShack- The New Sustainable Home For Slum Dwellers

Content by: South-South News

23 January 2013, New York, USA | Afaf Konja - The estimated one billion people who live in slums may have a chance to call the new Ishack home. Essentially an improved shack, the Ishack includes solar panels, inexpensive insulation and equipment to charge a cell phone.

Designed to help reduce poverty and a quicker way to improve the way slum dwellers live, researchers at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa are spearheading the initiative that is not only bringing safety and a new level of comfort to the millions of slum dwellers in South Africa, but light and utility to their daily lives.

Windows and a sloping roof are key features of the Ishack as well. Stellenbosch innovators explain that the windows maximize air circulation and the sloping design of the rooftops provide for rain water collection. Recycled materials are used for the insulation of the walls, along with temperature-moderate brick floors and paint that is flame retardant.

CNN reported that Nosango Plaatjie, iShack trial participant, told its developers that, "The solar [lights] are better. Now we don't need to go to sleep early anymore because now we have lights. My daughter must do her homework now she doesn't have any more excuses. And I like the light outside because we can see what is going on, I feel safer."

Lauren Tavener-Smith, PHD student at the university of Stellenbosch reportedly said, that, "The materials and design were chosen based on affordability, accessibility and impact on thermal comfort."

Reports indicate that an estimated 100 iShacks will come up over the next year thanks to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is pretty exciting and fast development compared to the time it would traditionally take to approve much less fund such projects through existing government policies.

The goal is to build Ishacks across Africa and ultimately improve the living conditions of its people and hopefully beyond.


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