The Banaba Evac Center is being covered in plants!
The work your amazing generosity has made possible in Banaba over the last year is leading to some fantastic impacts!
In our January report we highlighted how you’d helped construct a greenhouse at the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Center. Our partner in Banaba, Buklod Tao, use the greenhouse to nurture seedlings as part of an “urban container gardening” initiative. This initiative teaches families how to grow vegetables in limited space to provide better nutrition and food security.
The gardening initiative is very successful in its own right but the yield from the greenhouse has recently been put to even more use.
The center itself is a three storey building that was originally built by another organisation. But their funding sadly ran out before construction could be finished. One of the tasks left incomplete was the external rendering of the building. Without render the building’s bricks are exposed to the elements, putting them at risk of damage over time. Also, the exposed concrete blocks are pretty ugly.
The materials needed to render the building - namely sand and cement - would be expensive for a structure as large as the center. So, for almost two years the bricks have remained exposed.
But Buklod Tao are ever resourceful and we’ve recently been working with them on an innovative solution. The greenhouse is able to produce so many seedlings that work recently started to cover the center with a living, breathing skin of plants!
The process starts by securing a steel mesh to the the outside walls of the building. This material is relatively cheap and allows the quick and easy securing of planter boxes to the walls.
These planter boxes are made from recycled juice containers reclaimed from the waterways and streets of the community. This in itself reduces pollution as the containers would normally either remain in the water, or be burned, which releases toxic fumes.
Instead these upcycled juice boxes now contain plants which are attached to the center’s walls. When these plants grow they provide many benefits.
Firstly, they soak up the rains which would normally damage the building’s bricks over time. Secondly, they provide an additional layer of insulation, which in the very tropical Philippines helps to keep the building cooler. Thirdly, as the plants grow they suck up carbon dioxide. As climate change is leading to more typhoons this is particularly apt way to protect the walls of an evacuation center! Finally, the plants create a beautiful green covering instead of conventional drab concrete walls.
We think this is a great solution to the missing render on the building and, once again, your support has been vital to its success. As well as supporting the original greenhouse construction your donations also provided the gondola we discussed in our July report.
This gondola is suspended from the centre’s strong steel roof frame and provides a safe, enclosed platform from which work securing the plants can be undertaken.
We think it’s fantastic how this relatively simple support, of the greenhouse and gondola, is now having such a great impact. Thank you so much!
As always, if you ever have any queries about how we’re using your donation, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.
The plants provide a living, breathing "skin"
The plants come from the greenhouse you provided