MoDDD graduate Lisa Skillern tells us about her recent experience working pro bono for the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan and with the Porcelain Bear ceramic studio.
— Lisa Skillern
At the invitation of Yasmeen Lari during RMIT’s Humanitarian Architecture Week 2018, I recently spent time with the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan.
After working in the fluidity of Karachi, Makli of Thatta had an unexpected slowness. It encourages us all to think more, to explore how soil and nature connects each of us on every level to a place where we can share our inner selves. After initially working on ceramics conservation and training of marginalised community members, the design of an educational program became a priority. Targeting illiterate teenagers who will promote and sell the village made products, using bicycles for transport, the initial pilot project in eight villages will be expanded to approximately 800 villages through the educational program.
The Heritage Foundation applies design principles to make shelters, toilets, hand pumps and chulah stoves (DRR compliant) and empowers women through education, allowing them to gain dignity and respect through achievement. It is a radical participatory and sustainable model that builds skills capacity to enable people to earn an income. The benefits for children are improved hygiene and lowered incidence of burns as well as education. The model creates a positive and sustainable environment with a community culture. Cultural heritage is preserved as a living tradition through the use of mud, lime and bamboo in the construction of shelters and the production of terracotta clay and glazed ceramics.