Young engineer Majd Mashharawi has invented environmentally friendly, cheap and lightweight blocks that use ash instead of sand as an alternative to conventional construction blocks. The invention is dubbed ‘Green Cake’ and may constitute an effort to help rebuild the besieged Gaza Strip.
There have been 3 wars in 10 years and an 11-year Israeli blockade, which has left thousands of buildings in the Gaza Strip in ruins. Majd Mashharawi attempted to make construction blocks out of the rubble of war itself. Majd studied civil engineering at the Islamic University of Gaza and came up with an alternative to cement.
Green Cake looks like ordinary concrete but is more environmentally friendly as it re-uses coal ash and is called ‘cake’ because it is much lighter than concrete. In addition, the blocks are 25 per cent cheaper than concrete equivalents. The project was helped by a grant from the university, and by August 2016 the project had received its first commission.
According to Majd, “Gaza is a closed area with limited resources and many different, severe problems,” “But people here start every day with a sense of hope.” She adds that she has been through three wars, lost two of her best friends, and her house was partially destroyed. It was hard and horrible, but what she went through made her believe in change.
Mashharawi hopes that Green Cake will help Gaza residents towards self-sufficiency by freeing them from the need to import building materials from outside, and she believes it could have a positive impact on employment too.