Poor man’s dignified house


If you take a bus towards Dakshinkali from the old bus park, after 45 minutes you will come to a place called Khahare. And there is located Nepal’s first bottle house. Bottle house? Yes- bottle house- constructed and preserved by the Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation. It may seem strange that we can find such one-of-a-kind environmental project here in Nepal.

KRMEF was established in 2008 with the goal of creating a healthy and sustainable environment by using a number of eco-friendly practices for the well being of local communities. So, the goal of the foundation is to create and implement eco-friendly programs in order to promote and encourage sustainable community development.


The bottle house, which is also called a ‘poor man’s dignified house’, was constructed in 2010 as a solution to the outdated and environmentally unfriendly buildings throughout Nepal. It is an environmentally low-impact home designed and built using materials and technology that reduces its carbon footprint and lowers its energy needs. The bottle house uses building methods that are environmentally responsible and resourceful throughout the building’s entire life-cycle: from sitting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and destruction. In other words, bottle house design involves finding the balance between home building and sustainability. The bottle house practice expands and complements classic building designs in terms of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

Collected from embassies and restaurants in Kathmandu, the unused and degradable glass bottles give the bottle house looks a beautiful look. The bottle walls can be constructed in different ways; typically, they are made on a foundation that is set into a channel in the earth to add stability to the wall. Rebar can be set into the foundation to add structural integrity. Bottle walls range one bottle to two bottles thick. Primitive mixture, such as cob, can be used as workable paste to bind the bottles. It is spread thickly onto the previous layer of bottles, followed by another layer that is pressed into the mixture.

The bottle house is inexpensive to build, as the materials are cheap and easy to collect. Also, because it uses bottles that would otherwise be considered waste, the bottle house can do wonders in terms of waste management. These days, bottles are often thrown into the valley and the riverside after their contents have been used. Besides helping to aid Nepal in its pollution problems, bottle houses can play an important role for poor people who are not able to make their own houses. If a person has even a small piece of land, then they can build own house simply by digging in their own field. The cost of bricks is high here in Nepal, so even buying bottles is still a better option if someone is hesitant of collecting bottles from the street.

The bottle house is environmentally friendly and socially responsible, helping both our people and our land. Apart from the sustainable resources that are used to make these eco-friendly houses, the heating and cooling system installed in the house creates a balanced temperature, and the ventilation system provides clean and fresh air – obviously healthy and environmentally friendly.

The country of Nepal is blessed with massive and diverse resources, and every region has its own specialty. The northern area has some the highest peaks in the world, while on the other hand the southern area is covered with huge flat lands where quality wheat, jute, maize and many other products are produced. In between, there is a middle area which is hilly and is blessed with many of its own natural resources. Unforuntately, as we all know, natural resources are depleting at an alarming rate here in Nepal just as they are in many other developing countries.

To solve this problem, the people of Nepal need to know the importance of our scarce resources, and they also have to be educated as to what they can do to improve the environment. Luckily, the situation is improving in many ways, as many Nepalese have already begun to adapt environmental strategies and have “gone green”.

With more and more industrialization in Nepal, it is important that our people “go green” in order to balance the scale of toxic fumes and chemicals that these industries produce. Whether in Nepal or any other country in the world, it is well known that resources are being depleted everywhere, and it is about time we take charge and keep our environment healthy. It will be better for us and better for the whole world.

Since it began its work, the Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation has helped to inspire dozens of bottle houses here in Nepal. Beginning as a single bottle house here on the foundation’s land, there are now many just like it across the country. Currently, volunteers and interns come from all over the world to stay at the foundation and help construct these houses. For example, the foundation used the bottle building technique to construct a community library for the local people of Khahare, as well as their Ankuran Waldorf-inspired kindergarten building. The foundation also helped the people of Pharping, 10km away from the foundation, to build a farmer’s school. KRMEF has many other sustainable projects, including producing alternative sources of energy and women’s jewelry workshop focused that uses sustainable soapnuts. For the last few years, many have people become aware of the fact that eco-friendly houses are quite important for our environment. However, there are still many people who are not aware of the benefits of eco-friendly buildings such as the  bottle house. Therefore, KRMEF is working to spread the word and raise awareness about how eco-friendly houses such as the bottle house can be beneficial and help our communities in so many different ways.

If you want to know more about me then have a look on the link given below.



blog for the blog

Hey my name is Suranjan. Oh ya Suranjan Koirala. The Israeli guys call me Shoko. The word Shoko means a hard milk chocolate. It’s sounds really hilarious if I say the meaning of my name to someone. But I like my nickname. This is how I usually introduce myself to a new volunteer here in the foundation.

wall paiting 4
From left: Nico, Lola & me

I leave in one of the crowed neighborhood of the Kathmandu. The life there is monotonous. That’s why I decided to be a volunteer in the foundation and learn the real meaning of life. The work done here in the foundation is similar to my course. I am studying a Development studies. I am in Bachelor level. I know when I first came to the foundation for the work Krishna sir he just told me to observe the place for one week. Then you will understand about the different projects run by the foundation. Yes and while observing I met my first foreign friend. These days we have a relationship of brother and sister. Who knows the girl from the France and the boy from the Nepal will be so close later on. So there is everything possible. Then after I just start to learn the different way of working and start to make the different friend.

I usually like to work on computer. Besides that making a briquette can be good option for me if I don’t have any work on computer. I also like to do paint and dig a field. That make me feels I am Nepali. But these days I am working with the volunteers in organizing different stuffs for the different projects. That’s it 🙂

My life at KRMEF

Dear all,

My name is Lola and I have been at the foundation for 3 months now. I am from England and I have come to the foundation as an intern and I am doing a Work Placement here. Since I’ve been here I have been teaching English classes to the Kindergarten Teachers and Women in the workshop. These classes are a way for them to speak English and increase their confidence. It is also a time for the women to be together without having to work, just have some fun and learn some English.

english class

My main project whilst being here is painting a mural in the garden which represents the environmental values and ideas of the foundation. I study Environment and Media studies, so I am using my knowledge on environmental communication to make a strong piece of art that will stand in the garden of the foundation. Here are some photographs of the work in progress…

wall painting

Measuring the wallwall painting 2

Whitewashing the wall

wall painting 3

Sketching the outline and setting up the composition

DSCF4802    Adding colors, texture and filling in the blanks, the fun bit and hard part 🙂

I hope that I can get the painting done before the opening of the cafe, which will  be on the 28th of February, so people can come have a yummy delicious organic meal with vegetable from the garden with a cup of Masala Dud Chiya and appreciate a (hopefully) nice work of art !

My great experience at KRMEF !!

Namaste everyone !!

My name is Itay, I’m 24 years old, and I’m from Israel . I’ve heard about the foundation from two of my friends that have volunteered there and had a great time .

I’ve volunteered in the foundation for a week , and I had a great time throughout my staying . For the first time after 6 months of traveling I had arrived to a place that felt just like home .

Krishna and his amazing family were so welcoming , and all the other volunteers has been great as well . I loved doing the works around the farm: painting the new rooms , working with the carpenters , making bio-briquettes and the best : gardening with “Wonder-Woman”- Kali .

Wonder Woman's garden, and the carpenters area
Wonder Woman’s garden, and the carpenters area

Well, and obviously I can’t leave out all the fun of cooking in the kitchen with Krishna’s daughter Christina, while she gives us Nepali lessons , and I am giving her Hebrew lessons .

I wish I had more time to spend on the  farm, but sadly I had a flight to catch. I hope I’ll get to go there again, and for longer period next time.

I will end with a picture of the door of the volunteers rooms , that just says it all .   🙂

Finally, just like home !!
Finally, just like home !!


First Post!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to KRMEF’s new volunteer blog! This blog will be a way for you to check out what the volunteers are up to here at the foundation on a day-to-day basis.  All of our volunteers will be able to post and share their experiences, stories, and adventures with you. Another goal is for each volunteer to post a short autobiography, telling you where they are from and why they came to KRMEF.  We are so excited to invite you into our world! We hope you enjoy, and we would love for you to come by and visit us soon 🙂

Solveig composes our duty board!
Solveig composes our duty board.

Today is Sunday, which means it was time for our weekly meeting. Each week, we meet to discuss what we have been working on, and our goals for the upcoming week. After the meeting, we update the duty board with current projects so that everyone can see what needs to be done and choose what they want to work on. On the board this week: garden work, kindergarten, jewelry workshop, carpentry (bamboo furniture building), composing new flyers/brochures, making a banner to advertise our bio-dynamic vegetables, and whitewashing the wall to prepare for Lola’s mural painting. As you can see, we have a lot going on this week!

Hadess helps the workshop ladies make holiday cards and jewelry.

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means it is time for our eco-jewelry team to create handmade holiday cards and holiday-themed jewelry to sell at local markets. Here in Nepal, a number of hotels and weekly markets hold special Christmas-themed markets for locals and tourists. This gives us an opportunity to sell holiday gifts and raise awareness about KRMEF. We look forward to sharing pictures of our tables at the markets this December!

Itay adds polishes wood for a new bookshelf.

There is a lot of construction and carpentry work going on right now at the foundation. KRMEF’s resident carpenters, with the help of volunteers, are busy building a third floor to the kindergarten building, bathrooms for the new eco-café, and furniture for each. The team uses natural building methods, making use of glass bottles as bricks and lots of bamboo. Today, the volunteers helped make bookshelves for the classrooms!

Head, shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes)

Final update for today- the volunteers here continue to teach English classes for the workshop and kindergarten women. Today, Janina and Hadess went over the names of eating utensils and parts of the body. The Nepali workers here at the foundation are always thrilled to take part in the classes, and it is lots of fun for everyone involved.

That’s it for now…more soon! Thanks for reading, and namaste!