Across Africa development has been slow and often people with disabilities are not able to find help or support for their needs leaving them hopeless. This fact rings true in Ethiopia, where according to the World Health Organization, only 1 mental hospital exists for over 89 million people. After many conversations with the local government officials, GoDesign and our local partner conducted a survey to find out how many people were living with physical and mental disabilities. In this particular zone, the estimated population is 36,000. The survey revealed that 1,300 individuals under the age of 21 had either a mental or physical disability that prevented them from being part of society, leaving them isolated and outcasted.
We were overwhelmed by these statistics and had to act. The Hope Center for Children with Disabilities is larger than any other project GoDesign has completed.
So what is it like to live with a disability in this region of Ethiopia? Imagine the overwhelming pain and hardship Afar parents must have after learning that their child has been born with a disability. These children are born into a thatch hut on a dirt floor with only their family by their side. There is no modern technology to diagnose these disabilities in the womb or after birth. Once born, the family may visit a local clinic after realizing that something is wrong only to hear that the clinic has no idea what is wrong with their child. Most disabled children in Afar have never been formally diagnosed.
The Hope Center is a multi-building complex with a school, clinic and dorm housing for children with physical and mental disabilities. The campus will be handicap accessible for children with physical disabilities. We have designed this project so that each building and walkway will have a specific texture (hydraform, CMU, Stucco, rock) to help children with navigation around the site. Additionally, you will find steps into private and semi-private spaces (teacher housing, staff restrooms) and no steps into the children’s spaces. (dorms, classrooms, restrooms, etc..) The clinic will provide unique care for those with disabilities while the school will focus on education and integration into the public school system. The dorm housing will provide 24hr care for children who need the most support.
Our Vision is to design and build for the poor and impoverished around the world, with a focus on educating communities in using their native tools and local materials to produce sustainable buildings.
Our Mission is to research architectural needs in developing countries, research funding methods for the needs, and develop design solutions for the communities in need.