A Prototype for Self-Reliant Housing: Bihar, India
$1,650 raised
17% of $10k goal
18 contributors
0 days left
Ended Aug 21, 2017

Hello from Ben and Prashant!

Ben Reid-Howells is an educator, trainer and musician. Prashant Kumar is a community artist and upcycling designer. 

In January 2017, we left our jobs, homes and most of our belongings to set out on the Vasudhaiva Ride: a two-year series of diverse collaborative projects working towards peace, sustainable living and community wellbeing. See the video here for the origin story.


We are working towards the vision of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam— the whole world is one family. To do this, we are collaborating on projects and sharing stories of people working in radically different ways towards a more united world. We are doing this to provide an alternative global narrative of hope, resilience and union, as well as facilitating the exchange of resources for such work. Two projects have been completed so far. We are currently working on our third project. See more on the our first projects below.



We are now raising funds for the Bihar Project. This is our third and largest scale project so far. We are working in Arrah, Bihar—Prashant's home town—to create a model for affordable and self-sufficient housing. We are constructing using upcycled waste and natural materials, integrating solar, wind and water filtration systems to create a home to address issues of pollution, poor hygiene and unsustainable design in the town of Arrah. We are also incorporating micro-agriculture--eg. vertical farming, terrace farming—to demonstrate the efficacy of urban farming.

Throughout the Bihar Project we are hosting volunteers from Bihar, India and international travelers and professionals. Along with the construction work, we are engaging with the local community, doing workshops in local schools and colleges in Patna, conducting sessions with the neighbourhood children, and other emergent community programs: engaging different people from a diverse mix of socioeconomic backgrounds. What we are currently building will become a community skills training centre that  Prashant will run once he returns to Bihar after we complete the Vasudhaiva Ride in December 2018.

How will the funds be used?

We are currently raising funds for the construction process—building materials, labour costs, etc—and for the for the solar, wind and water filtration systems. The construction materials include: recycled glass bottles; hand-made clay tiles for roofing; mud; plants and lots of upcycled waste material that Prashant is helping to transform into upcycled products for the interiors, garden, lighting and other features. We are also raising funds to cover the costs of programs with the local community and costs of living for the team working to make this project a reality!

We will use hand made clay tiles. A tradition here in Bihar that we are excited to bring back to mainstream construction processes: locally sourced, natural and hardy.

We will use mud and glass bottles: reducing the amount of cement and bricks needed and demonstrating how to construct using upcycled waste. We are building vertical gardening systems using waste materials: at once creating opportunities for growing food in small spaces, and utilising waste, making a model for affordable food production at home.

Beyond the construction, we are working closely with the local community, leading sessions at schools and colleges as well as engaging local youth in simple activities such as planting, clean ups and the occasional study session!

Why Crowdfunding?

We are working to create a model for sustainable, self-reliant housing and the foundations for a future community skills training centre. We don’t have any NGO or corporation behind us, but we are passionate to make this work happen. Just as this project is inspired by the needs of the community around it, we are striving to keep this a community owned endeavour, rather than corporate. And that means crowdfunding. We believe in creating a future of sustainable livelihood and accessible housing and we need your help to make this possible! Any support you can give will help us. Please share this story, join us in Arrah until the end of September (2017) and give what you can!


Why we're excited

We've seen the success of our first two projects, and are now connecting with NGOs, government schools, artists and organisers across India to make this project a great success. What we need is the funds to make it happen!

Any support you can give is a huge help.
Join us in making a sustainable future for Bihar a reality!


Yours in One world, One family,

-Prashant Kumar and Ben Reid-Howells

For more on who we are, how the work is going and more on the Vasudhaiva Ride, find us online at the links below.

Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Website


MORE on the Vasudhaiva Ride...

In January, 2017, we started from Khubavali village, close to Pune, India. We left with very little. We have two bikes, donated gear, and Prashant’s charismatic rescue dog, Buddy. We wanted to do our first projects before launching crowd funding, which has meant simple living. But the goals are big.

Project No.1: Accessible Education in Mumbai

In our first project took place at a public school in Jijamata Nagar, a slum community in inner city Bombay. We worked with Meenal Srinivasan and EDUCO, a program that brings child-centric, innovative pedagogy to underprivileged students. We led workshops with students on peace-work and sustainable living, and a teacher-training program on experiential education. Learn more about this project on accessible education.

Soul Riders: Economic Times of India Article.


Ecosystems games: we all have a responsibility to protect our local environment!
Prashant's work in upcycling has taught people to see waste as a resource.

Students identified what peace means for them, in the context of living in an inner city Bombay slum.

Project No.2: A Home from Waste 

In our second project we worked with Nivedita Bagh to create a zero-waste design process, local knowledge and upcycled waste and natural materials to build a community centre and affordable home (1,500 USD) in Pushkar, Rajasthan. 

What emerged was a model for affordable, sustainable, locally sourced housing.

The Pushkar Project, built by a global community: a model for building with upcycled and natural materials.

International travelers joined and worked alongside local villagers. We created a mud house with glass-bottle walls: a home, community centre and a statement of what a transnational community can create with hard work and a solid vision.

Learn more about this project on affordable housing.here.

Thank you for your support!

To make these projects possible we need you to join us. Please give what you can and share this work far and wide!

Yours in One world, One family,
-Prashant and Ben.



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