Ingrid Vaca Diez always had a penchant for keeping empty bottles and stacking them up in the patio of her Santa Cruz residence in Bolivia. One day her husband indignantly pointed out that she officially had enough bottles to “build a house.”
A wonderful idea struck her then and there: In a country where nearly 40% of the people live below the poverty line and deplorable housing conditions are the clearest evidence of this crisis, why not build houses from the only resource that can be found in abundance – empty plastic bottles.
Al Jazeera’s “Garbage Homes” shows a glimpse into Vaza Diez's mission to build homes for low-income families using recycled material, be it expired powder milk or horse manure and dirt-filled empty bottles.
According to the network, Vaca Diez draws much of her project’s inspiration from a letter she received from Claudia, a school girl who thanked the lawyer-turned-architect for visiting her school and asked her to help build a bigger space for her family.
Despite the many challenges along her way, the project has been a success. So far, it has led to the construction of 10 of these homes. "Many times I've said 'this is the last house I'll build'...But I already have another one to build," she noted.
Visit Al Jazeera for more on Ingrid Vaca Diez's remarkable story.