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Salem team makes bamboo shelters for homeless

A group from Salem is working on the rehabilitation of victims, whose homes have been washed away

Salem team makes bamboo shelters for homeless
Temporary bamboo shelters being built in Salem


Piyush Manush, along with volunteers of Salem Citizens Forum, has built bamboo shelters, complete with solar-powered LEDs, to accommodate homeless families until they reconstruct their homes. Piyush, who runs Coop Forest, a cooperative farming initiative in Dharmapuri, says the enormity of the tragedy propelled him into action. “More than 10 lakh people are rendered homeless by the recent floods across the state. This is a tragedy which has left us shocked. The Salem Citizens Forum and its volunteers are working out of Mahatma Gandhi Stadium in Salem, where relief material is being organised. We built bamboo rafts and have now started making temporary shelters using bamboo, found in abundance across our state,” says the environmentalist, who prefers to be addressed as Piyush Manush. 

These 96 sq ft bamboo structures can house a family of four and comes with solar-powered LED lights. Piyush elaborates, “We split the bamboo and line it up vertically or horizontally to make the walls. The roof will be made of thin bamboo mats. The entire structure comes with a solar powered LED light. We use tarpaulin sheets or discarded flex banners to make it water-proof, using recyclable materials. We are now starting mass production of these shelters. Each unit costs Rs. 4,800.”

This novel initiative has garnered much interest, from the officials as well as the general public. “We had the Forest Department officials come by and look at these shelters. They have promised to help us with the raw material,” he says. 

“Even if they provide the bamboo at industry rates, it will go a long way in bringing down the price to Rs. 3,000 per unit. We have also spoken to the Salem District Administration, who will speak to their counterparts in Chennai and ensure that these units reach the beneficiaries. People have been very encouraging and helping us with donations but we still need more resources. The process is as transparent as possible and accountable. Even if we provide 5,000 houses, it will make a difference to many families,” concludes Piyush.

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