Positive change is occurring on the border of Mexico and the United States and the non-profit World Hands Project is a small initiative desperately trying to make a difference. The work of World Hands Project is focused in and around the community of Anapra, Mexico. This is an area devastated by poverty and pollution resulting from the tragic circumstances of a great influx of new residents responding to opportunities promised by international corporate investment. Those promises have turned out to be untrue as investing companies have brought agendas permiated by an obvious lack of commitment to the place and its people.
A majority of Anapra is an illegal community, situated on privately owned land on the western outskirts of Ciudad Juarez across the U.S. and Mexico border from El Paso Texas. Living conditions and the hope for positive change are bleak except for the efforts of a few dedicated organizations, one of which being a group of natural builders and sustainable living advocates dedicated to improving the outlook for the masses of poor Mexicans resettling their lives in the shadows of the hope created by the machiladoras or factories.
The mission of World Hands Project is to, “empower individuals throughout the world by introducing co-creation models of sustainable living”. Through a collaborative effort blending the expertise and relative wealth of motivated individuals including architects and builders with the skills of local tradesmen and the immense needs of families, a powerfully positive result occurs. Jobs are fostered, people are educated through collaboration and sustainable, livable and efficient housing is created. These homes, constructed of straw, pallets and the surrounding clay, are a striking contrast to the existing homes that are mostly pieced together with salvaged materials made weather resistant by tar paper and plastic. The magic that occurs from the work of World Hands Project is the realization that with local involvement and a little guidance, almost any resident in Anapra can “gather” the materials they need for a home, and with the support of the community build homes that works to support their hopes for the future while adding stability to their lives. At the core of World Hands Project is the empowerment of individuals to help themselves by providing education, support and a model for local residents to gather around and advance on their own.
World Hands Project is always looking for direct assistance from individuals. Give your time, your expertise, and/or your money, just get up and “design like you give a damn”!