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We want to initiate and introduce bamboo to Molokai with a prototype structure people can stand in, touch, see and learn from.
Sustainable Molokai
826 Facebook Friends
Kaunakakai, Hawaii
United States
2 Team Members
This campaign is raising funds on behalf of Sust Aina Ble Molokai, a verified nonprofit. The campaign does not necessarily reflect the views of the nonprofit or have any formal association with it. All contributions are considered unrestricted gifts and can't be specified for any particular purpose.

We are Sustʻāina ble Molokai. Our mission is to maintain our island's rich culture and historic legacy of ʻāina momona (abundant land) and embrace modern pathways to a sustainable future. Our objectives include creating an environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable and self-sufficient island that serves as a model for Hawaiʻi and the world.  We focus on education, training, and advocacy; identify existing community assets and inherent challenges; and we fill complementary roles that advance local efforts.  As a strong native community, we take kuleana (responsibility) as the architects of our own destiny, knowing that homegrown solutions work best. Our current work is focused within the following program areas:  Molokai-pedia (a database for the island), Food Security, Energy Independence, Watershed Restoration, and Green Economic Development.

*For all donations of any size, if we receive enough funding to build our prototype structure, we will send you updates and photos from the build that you helped to make possible. 

Follow this link to a separate video, for a broader overview of our project and organization:


We live on an island where close to 100% of everything we eat, build with, wear and use is imported. Molokai, like many islands, has had to contend with poor agricultural choices, which have created erosion and denuded the soil, causing harm to reefs and endangering traditional fishing areas. As we looked to address these environmental concerns, we realized we could alleviate two unsustainable problems with one giant bamboo! We are proposing to plant 17 acres of bamboo in a watershed restoration area that will work as a carbon sink for greenhouse gas emissions, hold soil, and bring down precipitation. By using structural bamboo, we can address the issue of affordable housing on Molokai. Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the United States, and Molokai has the highest cost in the state.

We found a partner, Rich Van Wellsheim, from Whispering Winds Bamboo on Maui. Whispering Winds has been growing and processing bamboo for ten years, and Rich was working with a young and innovative architect named Yuliya Bentcheva. Yuliya had designed a simple strapping system that holds bamboo in place—a lovely, innovative, modular design we are calling the Molokai Ohana House. It is small enough to be affordable for tropical outdoor living, is a safe space against inclement weather, has simple lines, is made of renewable material, and can all be grown locally on Molokai.

Bamboo takes seven years to grow before the first harvest, so to get us started we are hoping, with your help, to purchase raw bamboo materials from Whispering Winds to build our first prototype. Although much of the world already builds with bamboo, for our island community it is a new concept. We want to initiate and introduce bamboo to the island with a structure people can stand in, touch and see. Once the structure is up, and people are able to interact with it, we are confident the community will embrace this building material.

This is where you the investor, and bamboo believer, can come in! We need the raw materials to build this prototype, and for that we need your help. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to purchase the raw materials and to cover any labor costs. 

You will be on the forefront of creating a sustainable model for rural economies around the world, make possible the first affordable bamboo structure on the island, and help us to further fine tune the design and cost. This design and “grow your own house” concept could change the lives of thousands of families, providing sustainable, affordable housing to the people who need it most.

We need at least $7,000 for the first structure. We now have $2,000 from a grant, but as this is the proto-type, we will not really understand the true cost of everything until we build it. We will also be training local youth in the bamboo building aspect; so some of the funds will be directed towards securing building tools.

Growing bamboo and using it as a construction material will help to lower the carbon footprint of those on the island. It will also help us create safe and secure housing for keiki (children) and kupuna (elders) alike. 

Visit our website, sustainablemolokai.org to check out our other great projects. Read our blog, learn about our school gardens, check out our Agricultural and Energy needs assessments, and follow our food map to local organic produce on Molokai.  

If you are unable to give funding we would still love your help getting the word out on social media about our project. We appreciate so much that you've taken the time to read our proposal. 

Architect and Molokai artist Donald Sunshine has completed his watercolor rendition of the Bamboo Ohana Homes Structure. We have 20 signed prints ready to send off... we are so enthralled with the beauty of this vision! 

Find This Campaign On
raised in 2 months
101% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$5,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on April 4, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Every little bit counts

    We will give you a thank you shout out on our Facebook and blog. Really thank you!

    0 claimed
  • $5USD
    Thanks again!

    We will post a personalized thank you video on your Facebook page. Thank you!

    0 claimed
  • $15USD
    Plant a bamboo for you!

    We will plant a bamboo in your honor, and you can choose from one of the three species we will grow on Molokai. We will also send you a postcard map that shows where your bamboo has been planted on the island. We will also calculate how much GHG the bamboo will absorb over its lifetime and keep track of the home it will help construct. We'll also give you a shout out on our Facebook and blog!

    4 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2014
  • $25USD
    School Garden Pizza Party

    For our local or visitor community we will give you one pizza ticket, good for a pizza from our mobile School Garden Pizza Oven! We have mounted a Forno Bravo wood burning pizza oven on a trailer to make cooking with fresh produce from our gardens accessible to our school children. One Saturday (we will provide plenty of advance warning) we will set up at our permaculture site and have a community day of fresh food and fun activities.

    5 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $35USD
    Thank you coconut

    Perks 1 and 2 and 3, as well as our love on a hand painted coconut. One of our school garden club kids will decorate a one of a kind painting on a coconut for you to give, or keep as a reminder that somewhere in the world you made a difference in a community!

    5 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $50USD
    Bamboo for you deluxe

    We will plant five bamboo in your name, and include your name, or the name of your loved one, on a ceramic stepping stone in front of the bamboo. We'll also include perks 1 and 2 and send you updated pictures of the bamboo growth.

    8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2014

    Exotic Tropical Hardwood Board

    Perks 1 and 2 and 3, lots of love and our undying gratitude. We will also include an exotic tropical hardwood serving board, from Molokai, made with care by our very own staff botanist Fred. These pieces have been hand picked by Fred from his farm. They are beautiful pieces of hardwood, ready to become a handy item in your everyday life.

    10 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $150USD
    Architectural Watercolor

    Perks 1 and 2 and 3, and our love and undying gratitude (of course included in all the perks!) This perk will also include an 8x10 limited edition colored print of our Bamboo Ohana House architectural drawing, by Molokai artist Donald Sunshine.

    3 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $250USD
    Permaculture Consultation

    You will have a 2 hour guided tour of significant elements and ecosystems of tropical agroforestry, and the biomes of Molokai by our very own certified permaculture designer, teacher and active botanist. Or for a resident, you will receive a landscape consultation or permaculture design consultation of your farm. We'll also throw in perks 1, 2, 3 and 4 (if you're on island!)

    1 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2014
  • $2,000USD
    Be part of the build

    We will send you a personalized invitation to be part of the build. The architect and designer will be there as well, to answer all questions in an open forum to discuss her innovative strapping system, which she has devised for the bamboo buildings. Included is an invitation to the blessing lua’u upon completion of the project, as well as perks 1, 2 and 3 and 4.

    0 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
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