An update: from disasters to great successes


A lot has happened in the last few months – from disasters to great successes. In this blogpost we will report about many small projects.

At the beginning of June we received the terrible news that a fire broke out in the slum in Kibera due to a power failure. During the night, 6 fire trucks came to the slum to extinguish the fire. Many families lost their homes, and an area of 300m² with 160 houses was destroyed. Since then we have had news of 3 more fires in the area, highlighting the fire hazard of the common construction materials in the slums. Thanks to your help, we were able to collect a total amount of more than 20,000€, which was used to provide immediate emergency aid in the form of food donations on three separate occasions to different families. The remaining money is being used to build 8 new housing units for affected families. However, this is not nearly enough to provide  for all the displaced people and our original design can accommodate 14 units. We are still trying to raise a further €13 200 to achieve our goal. Thank you for your donations to this point and please consider contributing again.

Die Entwürfe für den Neubau der abgebrannten Häuser

Another project we have finished is the TwistBlocks Calculator. It allows you to calculate how much a house, a school, a landscape project or sanitary facilities will cost with our TwistBlocks. Feel free to visit TwistBlocks.com and try it out for yourself.

We’ve also redesigned the manufacturing office for our staff. Now Milka, our Head of Workshop, can receive potential customers and do her administrative tasks undisturbed in a separate room.

With our partner NGO Konkuey Design Initiative (KDI), we have been able to carry out many projects so far. For the second water tank project, KDI purchased 300 of our TwistBlocks and completed the construction project on their own within 10 days. The water tank can hold 10,000 liters and serves 300 people living in the area. The tank is connected to the municipal  mains which is unreliable in Kibera, and it serves as a backup for when the supply is shut off.

In addition, the 2021 masonry calendar, a standard reference work for civil engineers and architects, has been published. In this year’s issue, we had the honor of writing an article about our construction system: “An idea born out of necessity – hollow concrete blocks for masonry construction in informal settlements and their constructional implementation” was written together with our team of experts.

In other news, our TwistBlock had to be recertified. Every two years the stone is tested by the Kenyan Bureau of Standards (KEBS), comparable to the TÜV in Germany, and a new certificate is issued. For this purpose, 12 stones were tested in the laboratory and we were asked questions about the material and mixture. In this way, every two years the quality is checked to see if it can still be guaranteed. The next deadline will be in 2023!

We are proud: We won the German Innovation Award 2021 together with PERI for the category Building & Elements with our manufacture and the TwistBlock construction system. The focus of the award is on products and solutions that offer special added value and stand out from previous solutions. The jury was particularly enthusiastic about the fact that the production of the TwistBlocks creates local jobs in Kibera, our manufactory is directly on site and the added value remains with the slum dwellers.

Another highlight in July was our participation in the One Young World Summit. Our team member Claire was able to present our sustainable vision on site in Munich and from now on act as One Young World Ambassador. One Young World promotes and connects the most influential young leaders in the world. The goal is to create a better world where there are many responsible and more effective leaders.

We have a few projects lined up for the coming weeks, such as the Bethany Joy School, more info to follow. To stay up to date, feel free to follow us on Instagram @startsomewhere.eu and Facebook @let.us.start.somewhere.

Thank you for your support, we really appreciate it!