Shelters for refugees play a vital role in humanitarian response, but there are misconceptions that cloud our understanding. Let's shed light on these misconceptions and uncover the truth about refugee shelter solutions.
"Shelter is just a temporary fix"
One common misconception is that shelter for refugees is merely a short-term solution. However, many refugees experience prolonged displacement, often spanning years or even decades. Providing durable and long-lasting shelter is crucial to ensure their well-being and stability. With durable materials and innovative design, H7 Shelter provides a safe and dignified home for refugees, even in prolonged displacement situations.
"Shelter is just a roof"
While having a roof over one's head is a fundamental aspect of shelters, it is not the only consideration. H7 Shelter takes a holistic approach, considering climate adaptability, cultural sensitivity, privacy, safety, and access to essential amenities. It involves creating an environment that promotes human dignity, well-being, and a sense of home.
Another misconception is that a single shelter design can meet the diverse needs of all refugees. However, shelter solutions must be adaptable and responsive, considering factors such as climate, cultural norms, family size, and disabilities. H7 Shelter recognizes the unique needs of each refugee population and offers a modular and customizable design that can be tailored to specific contexts, incorporating local practices, climate conditions, and cultural preferences. It offers flexibility and scalability in refugee shelter solutions.
"Shelter is not integrated with other essential services"
A myth is that shelter is seen as an isolated component of humanitarian response, separate from other vital services such as healthcare, education, and livelihood support. However, the reality is that shelter is interconnected with these services and plays a crucial role in promoting holistic well-being and enabling access to other critical support systems. H7 Shelter recognizes this importance and goes beyond mere construction: with the inclusion of water and sanitation facilities, energy solutions, and community spaces, H7 Shelter envisions a comprehensive approach that empowers refugees and facilitates access to vital services, nurturing a sense of community and well-being.
"Refugees are passive recipients of shelter"
H7 Shelter challenges this notion by prioritizing community empowerment. Through active involvement in decision-making, skills development, and training, refugees gain self-reliance and ownership. This approach fosters resilience and vibrant communities, emphasizing the importance of engaging refugees in designing and managing their shelters. By empowering them with resources and skills, their sense of ownership, self-reliance, and dignity are enhanced, aligning with H7 Shelter's commitment to community empowerment.
"The more localised, the better"
H7shelter fully recognizes the fundamental importance of favouring, when possible, localised approaches.
This is why it’s not a closed product, but a system, a “construction tool” capable of supporting a wide range of local solutions, materials and approaches.
However, H7 also commits to responding to the equally fundamental need of ensuring those minimum standards which too often locally cannot, or are in any case difficult to, be granted.
“Design is a non-essential luxury”
H7shelter wants to break a taboo according to which Design with a capital D is something that only few can afford and enjoy and that “humanitarian” necessarily means austere and spartan.
H7shelter believes that the right of living in pleasant, well designed and comfortable built environments even in the most extreme contexts, not only is not a luxury, but should be considered one of the fundamental rights, the pathway to rebuilding hope, avoiding stigmatisation and ultimately ensure dignity.