Like thousands of Kelantan folks, 2014 was a particularly challenging year for Yusof Ali and his 10 children as the state was hit by the worst flood it had seen in 100 years. The family were among the 15,000 who lost their homes to metres-high floodwaters.
The natural disaster lasted for weeks and most evacuees had to live in relief centres or in tents pitched on higher ground. Yusof, who was 65 years old at the time, lost all his belongings to the flood and could not afford to rebuild his home in Kampung Berlian, Tumpat. It was desperate times for people like him.
In hoping to help families like Yusof’s, a group of architecture students and lecturers at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) in Negri Sembilan came up with the USIM Shelter. Led by Luqman Hakkim Yusof, Wan Mohd Azly Wan Mohamad, Bibi Nur Bashirah Baharun, Muhammad Izzat Irfan Mustaffa, Mohd Farizal Zulkepli, Nasrinm Majdina Ramli, Mohd Safuan Mohd Fadzil and Mohd Azry Hadi Abd Manan were overseen by Ar. Fadli Arabi, Ar. Elina Mohd Husini dan Ar. Wan Norisma Wan Ismail.
Sustainability is key in the creation of USIM Shelter as this modular home system is designed to benefit needy communities. It uses local plant waste and empty fruit bunches as materials for the walls and roof, while the layout is calculated to achieve low energy usage, as well as to accommodate a recycled water system.
This environmental friendly structure has movable features allowing it to be reassembled at any location, suitable for disaster-prone areas. There are four types of modular home systems that can be added as extension to the basic structure. It is also Sharia-compliant, where its front door faces the qiblat and the kitchen is enclosed.
Its 740 square feet unit, each costing RM55,000, houses three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living hall and a kitchen. The project was unveiled in April 2015 and with help from Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, eight families, including Yusof’s, in Kampung Belian dan Kampung Laut were able to move in their new homes in record time.
Its success was showcase at ITEX 2017, which served to inspire other inventors and researchers in coming up with products and solutions to help and make a difference in needy communities. It was the perfect opportunity to encourage inventors to seek cooperation from the private sector as the USIM’s collaboration with Tesco was laudable.
Dr Elina later shared that the community of inventors in Malaysia should work closer with ITEX as the exhibition empowers innovative research towards commercialisation – without it, inventions and research are left to languish.
Following the success from ITEX 2017, USIM Shelter’s team entered the Solar Decathlon 2018 in the Middle East and will have this shelter built in Dubai later this year.