Transforming lives in Nepal: Safe homes and empowered communities

Where would you sleep, live, and raise your kids without a safe place to call home? Adequate housing is recognized as a human right. Yet, in Nepal, nearly half of the population lives in substandard housing conditions, hindering their opportunities for social and economic advancement. Like many in her country, 29-year-old Pramila, a devoted mother of two, intimately understands the impact of this challenge.  


Housing reality in Nepal  

In Nepalese culture, owning a house is a legacy parents want to pass on to their children. But for many, despite hard work and consistent savings, the ability to afford a safe and permanent home is out of reach. Instead, they live in informal settlements on disaster-prone land with many hazards and difficult living conditions. Often lacking access to running water, sanitation, or medical care, they share small buildings as extended families and live in constant fear of eviction.

Pramila’s family did not even have formal access to their own living space. They had to park their rickshaw in a neighbor’s yard and cross someone else’s property every time they wanted to go out of the house. Because the construction methods are not up to standard, the buildings in the informal settlements are very vulnerable to natural disasters.  

Commitment to self-determination  


For Pramila, the situation got even worse when her husband had to leave their family to seek employment in the Middle East.  

“When my husband had to leave, it was a difficult time for our family. But I was insistent on not letting adversity hold us back. It wasn’t easy at first, but I pushed myself and took charge of our financial well-being,” she recalls. 

Determined to secure a better future for their children, she has learned to drive an auto-rickshaw and to continue her husband’s business with it in Nepal. This has enabled her to support her family. Despite her efforts, the dream of having a safe home was still a goal, she couldn’t achieve. And even if she had earned enough to finance the construction of a lasting house, the land she lived on would have been too small. Recently, however, this dream of Pramila came true, when she moved into a newly constructed bamboo house. 

Green and resilient technology  

With her family, Pramila now lives in the vibrant community of Nagar Gaurav village. The houses there are built with our Cement Bamboo Frame technology, which enables the environmentally friendly and affordable construction of disaster-resistant housing. This step has empowered her beyond imagination.


“Having a stable home has left a profound and positive impact on our lives, bolstering our self-confidence. It fills my heart with pride to see my children grow up in such a safe and nurturing environment. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, and I will continue to strive for a better future for my family and our community,”  Pramila emphatically attests. 

Together with our implementing partner, the Hilti Foundation, we aim to help more families like Pramila’s lay the foundation for a self-determined future with a safe and affordable home. 

An empowered idol 

With this newfound confidence behind her, Pramila has worked even harder and is now seen as a role model in her community. By taking part in mason training and helping to build her community, she has earned a sufficient income, which she invested into her business to buy a tricycle. She sets an example for many women in the neighborhood to venture out of their comfort zones and provide for their families. 


“I believe that every step we take towards our dreams, no matter how small, propels us closer to success. As I venture into new businesses and embrace learning, my determination knows no limits. I am driven to enhance my capabilities and forge a brighter future for myself and my family,” she concludes. 

Cement Bamboo Frame Technology in Nepal 

RAK_3985_Courtesy of the Hilti Foundation

Nepal’s Ministry of Urban Development reports a need for nearly one million homes in the country over the next decade to meet rising demand, yet current construction practices using fired bricks and fuel combustion are expensive and harmful to the environment. Addressing global inflation rates and reducing air pollution from traditional construction methods is crucial. In Madhesh province, over 37% of families have houses with vulnerable bamboo walls, leading to high repair and maintenance costs. In 2012, Hilti engineers began testing Cement Bamboo Frame Technology, utilizing bamboo as the main structural element to provide sustainable, affordable, and disaster-resistant housing. Thanks to the partnership between the Hilti Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, over 274 homes have been built in Nepal using this method by 2023, benefiting communities, establishing local supply chains, and creating rural employment. 

Partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the Hilti Foundation

nepal bamboo 6

Since 2012, the Hilti Foundation’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 5 million people around the world build or improve their homes by applying innovative, eco-friendly and disaster-resilient shelter technologies, increasing access to affordable financing and transforming market systems. Our partnership is built on four pillars: Driving green construction at scale, creating inclusive markets for innovative housing products, building public-private-private partnerships for holistic housing change, and providing opportunities for employees to engage beyond the business.