Detached Houses

Hellen’s House / Orkidstudio

  • Architect:Orkidstudio
  • Location:Murunyu, Nakuru, Kenya
  • Date:2015
  • Area: 60m2
  • Client:Hellen Nyambura Kamau
  • Cost:£4,200
  • Project Team:StructureMode (Estructural Engineers)
  • Others:Photographs - Peter Dibdin

Hellen’s House 

Hellen’s House – Description from Orkidstudio.

Following completion on the Children’s Home in Nakuru, the Orkidstudio team returned to work with a large group of local women with the aim of constructing affordable houses. Many women in rural Kenya earn barely enough to survive and are often left as single mothers to their children, with the typical household ranging between 3 and 8 dependents. Trapped by an inability to earn enough to live, let alone accumulate savings, and burdened by hefty housing rental rates, women in this position have little hope of ever changing their situation.

© Peter Dibdin
© Peter Dibdin

Having worked closely with a number of local women on the children’s home, Orkidstudio undertook the construction of a new house for Hellen Nyambura Kamau. With eight children and aged just 31 years old, Hellen lived in a single room made from timber boards and a rusted metal roof. Her rent amounted to around a third of her monthly earnings, and she was restricted from using the surrounding land for any personal gain.

© Peter Dibdin
© Peter Dibdin

Her new home, located on a site nearby, was built along with thirteen other women using the same earthbag method as the children’s home and cost around a quarter of an equivalent house in the area. The money required to purchase land and construct the house was lent interest-free to Hellen by Orkidstudio, along with an allowance to purchase chickens and feed for one month. Now, one year on from completion, Hellen has met every weekly repayment on her loan to date and successfully grown her egg-laying business three-fold on her initial investment.

© Peter Dibdin
© Peter Dibdin

Orkidstudio are now developing a large scale project alongside a major Kenyan financial institution using the dairy sector to leverage capital and employment opportunities for rural women with the primary aim of delivering affordable housing to each member.”



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