Buy a Brick Build a Home Project

This is the place where you will find out all you need to know about this project, and the family we are helping.

The Story

I met the Mtshali family when I went home to Durban, South Africa last summer, and visited a nearby semi-urban settlement called Umbumbulu.

Mr Nkosinathi Mtshali with his wife, Mrs Fikisiwe Mtshali

The Mtshalis are a resilient and enduring family who lost their home to a storm. Their father, Nkosinathi, also survived a tragic road accident around this time. His one desire and constant prayer is for a roof over the heads of his loved ones.

The loss of their home has made it necessary for his family to be split into separate living spaces, and the current shelter which Nkosinathi shares with his wife, Fikisiwe, is cramped and unsafe. They allowed their son to leave and live with another family because they didn’t want to traumatize his childhood with the lasting memory of their miserable living situation every single day. Fikisiwe states, “I lift his father to an outside toilet, I feed him every meal he has, and I bathe him. Everything is difficult and we did not want to subject our child to that.”

The Mtshali Residence

The couple is receiving a government disability grant, but it does not sufficiently cover their monthly expenses. This means their dream of owning a home that meets their specific needs and caters to their disabilities is currently far from their reach.

Fikisiwe shares, “Having a Good Samaritan build a basic shelter for us would mean a lot to us. We would be so happy because we are in need.”

The family desires to have a safe and happy home for both them and their son. They also hope to give back to their community and create a sustainable living situation by running a daycare from their house.


Our Mission

Andrews University’s Masters Architecture class & Ubuntu Design Group plans to turn the Mtashalis family’s dream into a reality. We want to partner with the Mtshali family to build them a new home that won’t collapse, a home that reflects their creativity and culture, and that empowers the community around them.

The Andrews University MArch group working on the half-house project

We believe in using architecture to bring about change. If apartheid architecture could segregate and oppress, community-based design can liberate and enable opportunity, growth and commerce. We see architecture as just a frame; people are the big picture.

We seek to empower and assist creative, resilient, and hardworking people, so they can exercise their creativity using sustainable means and effect lasting change in their own communities.

We believe in listening to build and putting people first in architecture. If you share these core values, will you partner with us to make a difference in your global community by buying a brick to build a home?


What we’ve done

What we have managed to accomplish thus far is to meet with the community in exercising one of our core elements, in “listening to build”. This was a very important step because it ensures that our work remains relevant and inclusive of the dreams and the ideas of the local community.
Half of the money ($10 000) for this project has been raised, through a contribution made by Andrews University and this is a major boost to our plans.
This idea has also been spoken of in various high class forums, like the SXSW Program that took place in Texas, where this idea was one of the 6 finalists in the competition, out of more than 200 other projects. We were also very privileged to be granted the platform at the United Nations, to pitch our idea; and this was also very well received.

Meeting the community members

“Don’t forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” Hebrews 13:16

“We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:5


Our tiers are designed to accommodate donors under a student budget to those that can donate from a worker’s budget. They are broken down in terms of what the contributions will go towards.

$5 – Motar contribution

$25 – window sill/Bag of Sand

$50 – a brick

$500 – A bag of Cement

$1000 –  a wall

Cost Breakdown

Below, is an attached document that breaks down all the costs of the construction; showing where all the money will be allocated to.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: