When Perala Manasa was researching about temporary homes that most underprivileged lived in, she realised that most of them were not suitable for all weather conditions and were not durable for a longer period of time.
Hailing from Bommakal village in Karimnagar district, Manasa has been facing hardships since her childhood after losing her father when she was in Class 3. Brought up by her single mother, the 23-year-old knew the value of a stable home and was always inclined towards giving it back to society.
After completing her schooling at Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS), she went on to pursue her civil engineering from Lovely Professional University (LPU). “While studying at the university and during one of our field visits, I realised that not many had access to homes. And post completion of my graduation, I started researching and spoke to a lot of people living in bamboo homes. I wanted to do something for these wherein they can be provided with pakka homes but at a reasonable cost with all basic amenities,” she told Telangana Today.
She started researching and came across concrete sewerage pipes which were just lying around in open plots. That is when she thought why could not they be used for converting into affordable homes. Along with her friend from LPU and now co-founder Donthireddy Naveen Reddy, she designed affordable micro-houses called OPods, which are between 40 to 120 sq ft, and made out of concrete sewerage pipe of 2,000 mm diameter. Available in 12 different designs and in one, two, and three-bedroom sizes and are equipped with electricity, water, and drainage system along with having a lounge area on top of the OPod.
“These micro houses can comfortably accommodate a family of three and can be translocated. One of our OPod is set up at one of our relatives’ homes at Chengicherla in Hyderabad. The first OPod was built in January. Not just for housing purposes, these OPods can be used by the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry to provide them as resorts, hotels, restaurants, and also the healthcare sector as mobile clinics and also as guardrooms or guest rooms in many communities,” says Manasa.
The entrepreneur duo is also looking at supplying these movable OPods to different governments in order to provide them as affordable houses under various schemes. They have already bagged orders for building 80 Opods in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with each Opod costing anywhere between Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 5.5 lakh. MLC K Kavitha also appreciated the efforts of Manasa in building these innovative homes and said, “Her determination and hard work led her to design OPods built of sewerage pipes for low-cost housing for the poor”.