Open Source Shelter Changes Lives In Nepal

Top Quote One Startup is crowdfunding to give 200 houses and provide 200 jobs in the form of bikes. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) May 29, 2015 - In the month following Nepal's earthquake, Portal Bikes has designed, manufactured, and sent out temporary shelters to over 800 families-providing relief from the approaching monsoon rains and a safe place to live while rebuilding homes. Although the quake took the lives of thousands, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and rattled the nerves of millions, it simultaneously invoked a spirit of unity, ingenuity, and creativity as people worked together to bring relief to those who lost everything. Established in 2013, Portal Bikes is a Kathmandu-based non-profit business that was in a unique position to contribute to relief efforts. Having been manufacturing cargo bicycles in Nepal for nearly two years, they developed a vast amount experience working with metal manufacturing in Kathmandu. Due to this, they were able to quickly organize a system to distribute rapidly deployable, low-cost, reusable, strong, and safe temporary shelters for villagers who have been rendered homeless. By equipping local organizations and relief groups with shelters, over 800 families are now sleeping with a roof over their head; safe from the elements and the upcoming monsoon rains.

    The uniqueness of the Portal Shelter comes from its simplicity. Comprised of pipes, wire, tin roofing, and rebar, the shelter can be built for $100 and in 30 minutes with a hammer, pliers, and tin snips. As the heavy showers and high winds of the summer monsoon quickly approaches, these shelters are a fitting alternative to leaky and expensive tarps. Every day, Portal sends out shelters and trains dozens of aid workers. Furthermore, they have published open-sourced instructions that enables anybody to replicate the process, allowing the project to have an even greater impact.

    As the days and months pass by, the country will shift its focus from temporary relief to long-term solutions. Caleb Spear, the executive director and founder of Portal Bikes, believes that post earthquake, income generation will be one of Nepal's greatest needs and that the Portal Cargo Bike can empower people with new job opportunities, by creating more efficient businesses, and by starting new businesses. Portal designs and manufactures cargo bicycles that can not only carry large amounts of cargo but also can be transformed into a pedal-powered machine that powers grinders, corn shellers, washing machines, water pumps, generators, etc. The company's mission is to create pathways out of poverty by making these bicycles available to the working poor of Nepal.

    Portal continues its work to provide temporary shelters to Nepal's earthquake survivors and has established a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to enable them to build as many shelters as possible before the summer monsoon hits. Additionally, the campaign is designed to create employment opportunities and income generation by making Portal Bikes available to earthquake survivors. "With this Indiegogo campaign" says Spear, "we have the opportunity to work together to impact the lives of 2000 people. A mere $50 will provide a person with a dry place to sleep and the opportunity to escape poverty."

    Visit and search "shelter Nepal". For more information about Portal Bikes, visit our website:, and for daily updates, visit their Facebook page.

  • FB Icon Twitter Icon In-Icon
Contact Information