Duration: 04:25

Sleek new micro-homes are replacing run-down shacks in Thailand’s biggest slum. The modern properties have been installed in the Khlong Toei district of the capital Bangkok, where up to 100,000 impoverished residents live. Their cramped wooden and tin homes had been notorious for leaks and poor ventilation, leading to illnesses and clusters of the Covid-19 virus. However, a charitable foundation has now built dozens of homes for residents, with a goal to add more of the clean properties in the coming year. ‘Everything here is ruined, look at the right side of my house, there are big holes which creatures can get through,’ said resident Naowarat. ‘A pole is broken and the roof is leaking I’m very happy to be getting my new micro home, my life quality will be improved.’ The notorious slum is home to around 12,000 households with several members of the same extended family living in individual properties – many of them falling into disrepair. However, the Charoen Pokphand Foundation began funding the development of the new homes. Local architect Varudh Varavarn, founder of Vin Varavarn Architects, designed the buildings, which have tidy porches and solid walls. Surawat Krabsomboon, president of the Klong Toei community, said that despite the new homes, the future of the area is uncertain as the Port Authority of Thailand owns the land and wants to develop the land and replace the slum with offices, apartments and shops. ‘You can see there are several old homes with roof leaks, broken walls and collapsed poles,’ he said. ‘Some people inevitably get wet while sleeping through the heavy rain.’ Surawat said that almost 100 new homes have been built already while further development has been slowed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He added: ‘Those who received a free new home feel very happy as they do not have to pay for them. Also, we have been continuously receiving requests from residents in Klong Toey communities for home repairs. ‘I think it is a really good opportunity and I would like businesses and the Royal Thai Army to further support the home building.’