Mateo Paneitz: Matt, a native from Texas (USA), went to Guatemala with the United States Peace Corps in 2002 and was subsequently stationed in the town of San Juan, Comalapa. At the end of his service, he helped a local NGO, to transform a five-acre piece of land into a community park. Matt returned to the United States to begin raising funds and founded the NGO Long Way Home in the fall of 2004. When a local primary school approached him for help, he and his team decided the solution was to build a school that addressed three key issues: employment, education and the environment. Matt has a Bachelor’s in Sustainability and is pursuing a Masters in Education at Goddard College. Matt, with his vast experience in implementing self-reliant and green entrepreneurial sustainable systems in vulnerable communities in Guatemala, Sierra Leone and Columbia is keen to bring these skills to South Africa. Matt is the design and radical building implementation mentor for QPT. www.lostecnicos.org/
Rosa Henderson: Rosa is a natural builder from New-Zealand and an Earthship Academy Biotecture Graduate. She is an excellent project manager, building facilitator and community educator. Rosa is a specialist in working with cement, steel, natural finishes, tiles and rendering. Beyond building, her skills include team leadership, time management, problem solving, creative ways of working and working to a budget. Rosa’s previous career as a professional photographer makes her calm under pressure, open and friendly to clients, and ambitious and energetic to get involved in projects. She is always looking to up-skill, and push her limits, and be flexible to work wherever needed. Rosa is the Earthship Biotecture mentor for QPT
Peter Mcintosh moved to Berg-en-dal in 1999, where he built his own earth-sheltered, straw-bale house. Realising his passion Peter apprenticed himself to Etienne Bruwer, architect and father of green building in South Africa, and worked around South Africa, with many different natural building materials and techniques. Shortly thereafter, he started his own natural building company in the South Peninsula of Cape Town, where he honed his skills building and contributing to a diverse range of buildings. In 2010, Peter returned to Berg-en-dal to teach natural building and transfer his passion for sustainability to students and volunteers. An important part of Peter’s life is living in a community of people where they practice permaculture, growing their own food, living sustainably, and off the grid. Currently, Peter under the auspices of the Natural Building Collective is available to provide training, private consultation, facilitating workshops and he continues to be involved with projects nationally to further sustainable and natural building.Peter is the natural builder mentor for QPT.
Nick Ralphs: Nick is the founder of Tierra projects, a Johannesburg-based construction company. Tierra is not a conventional construction company. Although construction, quality, time and cost principles are similar, Tierra have a specific focus on a humane and environmentally-friendly approach. Using a combination of recyclable materials, natural resources, waste, building materials and conventional technology where practical, Tierra offers adobe, rammed earth, strawbale, cob, earth-tyre (earthships), sandbag, compressed earth brick (CEB’s) and conventional methods of construction. Nick is always only a phone call or sms away when construction challenges are experienced. Nick is the phone a friend construction mentor for QPT.
Anna Chudnovsky is from Moscow in Russia. She has a Masters Degree in Physics and PhD in Management. She is a journalist, writer and artist. Anna met Anita through a online Sustainable Development course and became interested in QPT. She is volunteering in the role of structure thinker, mind mapper, creative group work organizer, journalist, social research, and networking. Anna is helping from Moscow with content management, sourcing educational materials for our development projects, visualization of the process, and art support
Thabo Olivier was co-founder of Qala Tala in 2012. He has become an expert in food security and urban household gardening for economically vulnerable communities, but also has interest in low-cost sustainable housing, planning, food security, local economic development and social development. Thabo has also been building up regional, national and international connections for the initiative.
Anita Venter is a lecturer at the Centre for Development Support (UFS) andin the final stage of her doctoral thesis on sustainable housing development . Her professional skills include academic knowledge on sustainable enterprises and development, community engagement and her practical skills include alternative building methods. An academic institution, such as universities, must, according to her, take community responsibility more seriously . Moreover, her commitment to QPT and sustainable housing includes finding a sustainable low cost model that can be replicated and rolled out on scale, because the current practice of low income housing development in South Africa is not sustainable.