This Refugee Is Building Homes Out Of Plastic Bottles


In a refugee camp in the Sahara desert, one man is making homes more durable in the face of tough weather conditions ― and he’s using trash to do it.

Tateh Lehbib Breica, a Sahrawi refugee living in a camp in Tindouf, Algeria, is building homes for other refugees out of plastic bottles filled with sand, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) video above that was posted last week.

Breica lives in Awserd refugee camp, one of five camps around Tindouf where Sahrawi refugees have lived for over 40 years, according to a January UNHCR post. Thousands of Sahrawi people, an indigenous group of the Western Sahara, were displaced to Algeria in 1975 during the Western Sahara War, and many have remained there since, according to the BBC.

Today, the desert climate in Tindouf ― including storms, heavy rains, and temperatures of up to 113 degrees ― often causes damage to refugees’ homes, which are either tents or made out of adobe mud brick, according to UNHCR’s video.

One storm in 2015, for instance, destroyed thousands of homes in the area.

Breica’s plastic bottle homes make for a more durable structure than adobe when it comes to fighting heavy rains, reports UNHCR. The circular shape also makes them aerodynamic, which helps to withstand storms.

“We spend months building the other fragile dwelling,” Mailaminin Saleh, a refugee who currently lives in one of Breica’s plastic bottle houses,

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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