Once In A 60 Lakh Debt, Now This Couple Is Building Bamboo Houses Across India

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When Bamboo House India started in 2006, the initiative did not receive a warm welcome in the country. Surviving harsh times, without even one proper meal a day, did not deter the founders from their aim to revive the overlooked economies of North-Eastern villages.

Fast forward to today, Bamboo House India is breathing a new life into the concrete veins of Hyderabad. Their innovative use of bamboo as a building material for homes is creating better employment opportunities for many marginal communities. They engineer beautiful modern-day bamboo houses equipped with electricity, internet and all other amenities for a comfortable living.

ne of the houses built by Bamboo House India

Prashant Lingam, who co-founded Bamboo House India along with his wife Aruna Kappagantula, believes that bamboo is the future for eco-friendly living in India, a sounder option than cement, iron, plastic and even wood. In a heartfelt conversation he opened up about the journey of Bamboo House India as a pioneer in reviving bamboo farming amidst intense struggle.

Inspiration Behind Bamboo House India

Way back in 2006, while looking for eco-friendly furniture for their home, the duo chanced upon some remote villages in the Indo-Bangladesh border where bamboo was the primary source of livelihood. The villagers were gifted with extraordinary skill sets, but due to lack of exposure, they were surviving on a paltry income of 20-30 rupees per day mainly by making baskets. In fact, a majority of them were migrating to nearby towns.

Prashant and Aruna were already aware that bamboo had gained global popularity as an eco-friendly construction material. That was when they decided to create an urban market for bamboo which would provide a decent livelihood to these tribal communities as well as promote environmentally sustainable bamboo houses to the public.

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Emergency funds sent to 250 families

When Bamboo House India started in 2006, the initiative did not receive a warm welcome in the country. Surviving harsh times, without even one proper meal a day, did not deter the founders from their aim to revive the overlooked economies of North-Eastern villages.

Fast forward to today, Bamboo House India is breathing a new life into the concrete veins of Hyderabad. Their innovative use of bamboo as a building material for homes is creating better employment opportunities for many marginal communities. They engineer beautiful modern-day bamboo houses equipped with electricity, internet and all other amenities for a comfortable living.

ne of the houses built by Bamboo House India

Prashant Lingam, who co-founded Bamboo House India along with his wife Aruna Kappagantula, believes that bamboo is the future for eco-friendly living in India, a sounder option than cement, iron, plastic and even wood. In a heartfelt conversation he opened up about the journey of Bamboo House India as a pioneer in reviving bamboo farming amidst intense struggle.

Inspiration Behind Bamboo House India

Way back in 2006, while looking for eco-friendly furniture for their home, the duo chanced upon some remote villages in the Indo-Bangladesh border where bamboo was the primary source of livelihood. The villagers were gifted with extraordinary skill sets, but due to lack of exposure, they were surviving on a paltry income of 20-30 rupees per day mainly by making baskets. In fact, a majority of them were migrating to nearby towns.

Prashant and Aruna were already aware that bamboo had gained global popularity as an eco-friendly construction material. That was when they decided to create an urban market for bamboo which would provide a decent livelihood to these tribal communities as well as promote environmentally sustainable bamboo houses to the public.

Not Giving Up Through Years of Struggle

Soon after Prashant and Aruna embarked on their bamboo journey with a noble aim in mind, they had to face the harsh reality – nobody is ready to even think of a bamboo house. “Without a single contract in the first three years, we incurred an enormous debt of 60 lakhs,” shares Prashant. With deteriorating health and after the unfortunate deaths of their closest family members, they even considered committing suicide as a way out.

Bamboo House India
A rooftop bamboo house

For a last try, Aruna sold all her jewellery and pledged all their assets. Finally, a school principal in Hyderabad approached them to build a bamboo penthouse atop a building. Their excellent craftsmanship in this project attracted others, and the company has not looked back ever since.

Creating Jobs For Thousands

Since around 65% of bamboo production in India is concentrated in the North-East, Bamboo House India procures their raw material from the obscure hamlets of Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya. In a rural family, the male members are engaged in the cutting and collection of bamboo stems while the women weave them into bamboo mats by hand. After factory treatment, these are transported to Hyderabad where builders, carpenters and electricians are employed for the final construction of a cosy bamboo house. “Overall, a single bamboo house generates decently paid job opportunities for around a hundred people,” Prashant Lingam tells us.

Bamboo House India

Lack of proper roads and telecommunication in the North-East poses a tremendous logistical challenge for the organisation. The transportation of raw bamboo becomes inherently difficult during the torrential monsoon rains. Despite all these, Bamboo House India has successfully maintained their iron determination in rehabilitating these tribal economies.

Bamboo handicrafts have a high demand for interior decoration. “We are also connecting these handicraft artisans with buyers in India and the USA,” Prashant mentions, explaining to us how Bamboo House is employing new workers every day.

Environmental Advantages of Bamboo

From generating 35% more oxygen than a forest cover of equal area, to a substantial water retention capacity, bamboo has endless benefits. Adaptable to all weather conditions, a bamboo plantation has a life cycle of around 48 years. Bamboo attains complete growth within only 3 years and can be harvested again and again. This is why opting for bamboo houses is way more economical over wood because a tree takes a minimum 25 years to mature.

Is a bamboo house actually better a concrete house? This chart compares

Bamboo House India

The Present And The Future

Solely due to their sincere efforts, today, more people are recognising bamboo as a sustainable material for terrace houses, small cottages and even a large farmhouse in Tamil Nadu with a budget of 2 crores.

At present, the projects of Bamboo House India are mainly concentrated in and around Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and also Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra to some extent. Their unique efforts have received international recognition. You will find a beautiful bamboo gazebo at the US consulate in Hyderabad and a boathouse in the Google Office – some widely acclaimed projects by Bamboo House India. Apart from bamboo, they are also focusing on upcycling scrap materials and plastic, providing a new horde of opportunities for ragpickers.

Even today, only 10% of the enquiries get converted into contracts for bamboo houses. “We are trying to create more awareness by delivering lectures at schools and colleges and appealing to the youth.” The founders are working hard day and night to make India realise how bamboo can be a permanent solution to our environmental woes.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

KhaanaChahiye.com Is Distributing 40,000+ Meals Per Day In Mumbai During Covid-19 Lockdown

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Every global crisis affects every country in a different way depending on their socio-economic background. The COVID 19 pandemic hit India straight in its gut. After the lockdown daily wage workers and people who are underprivileged have been rendered out of their jobs. This has ultimately pushed them to an acute financial crisis so much so that even being able to afford two meals a day has become impossible. While we all wait for normalcy to bring us back our sanity, the financially disadvantaged people on the streets are fighting both the pandemic and hunger. 

KhaanaChahiye.com

In a scenario like so, a number of social groups have come forward to help in whatever way they can. One of the worst hit cities is Mumbai, where 5 lakh migrant workers, the homeless and underprivileged residents of slums and chawls, waiting endlessly for normalcy to return. KhaanaChahiye.com, an initiative by is cooking food and delivering them to those in dire need, every single day.

“khaanachahiye.com” that was launched in the city of Mumbai on March 29th, is one of its kind people-driven movements that has been running hall and hearty by the people coming from all across. It is that classic example of solidarity where people from all backgrounds, cultural and social has come together to ensure that every mouth is fed.

Brains behind KhaanaChahiye
Top : Pathik Muni, Ruben Mascarenhas. Below: Munaf Kapadia, Shishir Joshi

How does KhannaChahiye.com work

What’s different you ask? KhaanaChahiye.com has built a capacity of preparing over a whopping 50000+ meals on a daily basis by activating the closed kitchens on several Mumbai routes. Pathik Muni, who has been particularly invested in the mission says, “ We crowdsource demand on hunger pockets and then map it to supply-side by activating closed kitchens. Our partner NGO “Project Mumbai” with reach to the relevant stake holders in Government departments helps us facilitate permissions to activate these closed Kitchens with a turn around of 24 hours. Parallelly we raise funds to map the demand.”

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Emergency funds sent to 250 families

Areas of food distribution in Mumbai

The food that is prepared is not just hygienic but also fits the calorie count that is sufficient for a person to get him through the day. Every meal consists of daal-rice, aloo-sabzi, chole rotis, veg pulav etc.

KhaanaChahiye.com

KhaanaChahiye.com has a volunteer-driven collective drive in various areas of Mumbai where people in large numbers have come forward to contribute in the many ways possible. So far the initiative has covered the Bandra to Dahisar route on Western Express Highway, Sion to CST and underprivileged pockets between Mankurd to Kurla on Eastern Express Highway, Juhu to Dahisar on Linking road, a cluster of 1100 labor camps near Mumbai Central and a part of Dharavi Slums.

If you want to volunteer in Mumbai kindly reach out to [email protected]haanachahiye.com

Food distribution areas  in Mumbai by KhaanaChahiye.com

  1. To beggars & homeless
    • below the flyovers between Bandra to Dahisar on Western Express Highway,
    • between Juhu to Dahisar on Link road
    • below the flyovers between Ghatkopar to CST
    • under privileged pockets between Mankurd to Kurla.on Eastern Express Highway,
  2. To labour camps
    • a cluster of 1100 labour camp near Mumbai Central
    • a cluster of 3000 labour camp near Govandi
    • a cluster of 2000 labour camp near Mahul
    • a cluster of 750 labour camp in Colaba
  3. Parts of Dharavi Slums towards Cotton Green.
  4. Over 5000 meals in labour camps at various location identified and provided by the Assistant Commissioner,
  5. Serving food to over 5000 meals in Worli and Bandra on request of the local MLA and Corporator.

Immense demand of food in next 10 days

The intent of the movement is to continue the drive of feeding the needy in these difficult times at least until the lockdown is lifted by the government. However, as the days are proceeding, khaanachahiye.com initiative has identified more and more hunger pockets as a result of which the demand for food is just rising since the time it started. To give a perspective of the recently emerged roadblock, Pathik says, “Nine days back, we started with 1200 meals and we are already catering a demand of 40,000+ as of today. We have corporate donors for most of our requirement, but as the demand for food is rising, we are now looking to feed 5000 people in next 10 days, which turns out to be 1,00,000 meals. Therefore we need to now raise a sum of Rs 25,00,000/- which is huge and we really need the support of more people.”

KhaanaChahiye.com

To raise the funds, khaanachahiye.com initiative has come together with Efforts For Good and The Logical Indian to share this concern with our community members because as a citizen-driven movement, the khaanachahiye.com initiative needs more and more people to come forward and a set a sum aside to keep the initiative going in its full glory so that there are no impediments coming in the way of feeding every mouth in these difficult times. Additionally, one can also contribute by sharing the word with friends and families. COVID 19 is difficult for all, the least we can do is to contribute so that the struggle to cope up with the pandemic does not add up to the struggle to cope up with hunger as well.

Website: https://www.khaanachahiye.com ; FacebookInstagram , Twitter

If you’re an institution, donor, supply partner, the press who would like to partner with KhaanaChahiye.com, shoot a mail at [email protected]

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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