In 2001, 65 million people in India were living in slums without decent living conditions or any access to water and food on a daily basis. According to Berkeley research, more ore than 80 percent of the urban population in India cannot afford a concrete slab to be used as a roof.

For those who can afford a roof in slums, most of the time they are made of cement or metal sheets, which has a very bad effect on health and leads to poor quality of life. Witnessing such a lack of basic need, Hasit Ganatra, engineer and founder of ReMaterials, conceptualized a new type of roof named ModRoof to improve lives in slums.

According to ReMaterials, ModRoof is a “modular roofing system” that can improve shelters in slums and village homes in developing areas. Eco-friendly, easily removable and simple to install, it is also designed to be strong, waterproof and fire-resistant.

In addition, ModRoof is available for a low cost. Payable through microfinance companies, a very popular system in developing countries, the program solves the main obstacle to better facilities in worldwide slums: the price.

ReMaterials is currently considering embedding solar cells in ModRoof, which would allow houses to have power LED lights and outlets to charge phones. Employing solar power with ModRoof would be a huge step forward, as providing electricity to these shelters could assist in lifting the residents out of poverty.

“Worldwide experts told us to give up; they said we’d never do it,” said Ganatra in an interview with BBC. “But when you see this sort of problem [in the slums] you have to do something about it.”

Thus, the stark blue rooftop from ReMaterials is set to change lives. With continued persistence from Ganatra and his team, ModRoof will allow families living in slums all around the world to sleep in a safer, warmer environment.

– Léa Gorius

Photo: Flickr