Mekong Homes: A Project Born From Innovation

Article by

Luka D’Amato

With a vision to create and build better living for rural communities, the Mekong Homes project was born. But this vision was only the beginning of a journey to build a home that would improve rural living. Using our core capabilities in design, engineering, manufacturing, distribution and construction, ISI GROUP member companies Fuxin, ISI STEEL, GCS, and Hok Kang Architects (HKA), an architecture firm associated with Urbanland, came together to build a quality home that could empower Cambodian households.

“We see that there is a lot of attention and development to improve the living standards in the urban areas. However, there is little attention being paid to improving the living conditions of the people living in rural areas,” said Mr. Sen Kang, Fuxin Managing Director and Mekong Homes Co-Founder.

With many rural Cambodians still living off less than two dollars per day, it is often difficult for families to afford to rebuild or restore their homes in the traditional way. This leaves them living in homes that are low quality, unsafe, unhealthy and continues to restrict them in the cycle of poverty. With a clear problem facing 80% of Cambodia’s population, a solution was needed. Our member companies joined forces to design a traditional Khmer home, using modern materials and construction practices that would raise living standards and allow families to grow and thrive.

“After I bought Mekong Homes, I can live better than before. Now we have a beautiful home, a clean bathroom as well as clean water. Mekong Homes helps my family a lot and my children are not often sick like before,” said Mrs. Som Chana, a farmer from Takeo Province.

HKA began work on a design that would feel like home, improve sanitation and safety standards and look beautiful in the process. From there, Fuxin began developing the groundwork to build the first prototype. Working closely with ISI STEEL and GCS to use high-quality materials while reducing the construction time and keeping the homes cheap for the end user, together, the teams turned their vision into a reality.

“Architects want to preserve their ideas about the design, we [Fuxin] want to make sure that the project is efficient. We have to innovate to make sure that these aspects work together and that we give the customer what they need,” said Vuth Chanphalkun, Fuxin Quantity Surveyor. “Because we are in the same group of companies, we always reach the point where we understand each other. We always come to one solution – how to make it better,” he added.

As communities continue to grow and flourish, the flow on effects to the local community can include greater job opportunities, increased skilled workforce and more business activity. Mekong Homes gives people the freedom to improve and grow their businesses when working from a stable and safe home. Because of this, Mekong Homes only uses local supply chains, as well as offering training development on home construction and maintenance to expand job opportunities and support local economies.

Improved living standards also have a positive impact on dignity, mental health and opportunity. Some customers have found that their improved living standard has meant they have more time for businesses that they run from home, and that they feel happier and more content in their communities.

“In the countryside, the shelter is not very good. People think of a house as something that can add positive momentum to their lives. We are proud to have introduced the value of affordable, high-quality homes in Cambodia and help to reshape our country,” said Vuth Chanphalkun.

Working together, ISI GROUP member companies have and continue to show the power of hard work, innovation and integrity by taking their diverse backgrounds and overcoming challenges. Our team of architects, designers, engineers, home builders and manufacturers work together with the community to ensure that Mekong Homes continues to grow and evolve to suit rural families’ needs. The result of this collaboration is Mekong Homes and a better living for rural communities.

Mekong Homes is a project of ISI GROUP. Visit the Mekong Homes website to learn more about their work in Cambodia, or watch their short documentary video on YouTube. To learn more about ISI GROUP and our member companies, visit our website.