What is the ICHEC Housing Project?

An experience of intercultural openness…

The focus of the project is on the students. The objective is to offer them the opportunity to meet, in privileged conditions, other people, citizens of the world, like they are, who face both identical and completely different realities, to gain from this experience, and to discover the world from another point of view, the point of view of a developing country, with its treasures and its shortages. Back home, we hope it will help them rediscover their own universe.



of service to others…

The project to raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity is combined with a development project. Indeed, the best way for them to the meet people of the south is to help them in their effort to improve their living conditions. Therefore, we offer them the possibility to join a locally organized humanitarian development project, and to take an active part in its success.

within a group…

This is not only an individual but also a group experience. The participants are divided into small teams of ten persons. Each team lives together during one month in a small village. This community experience is one of the most fulfilling aspects of the project. Not only must they embark on this project with open-mindedness towards the natives but also towards the members of their team. 

in a developing country…

To be a citizen of the world, it is essential to consider it from different points of view. In this regard, we believe it is interesting to add the point of view of “the south” to our "occidental" point of view. We are currently working with 3 countries: India, Benin and Burkina Faso.



The greatest part of the budget is financed by the students themselves. They have to demonstrate creativity and energy to collect 1700€ per person to contribute to the project. Each participant has to collect the necessary amount for his/her travel and accommodation expenses (1100€) and also a financial contribution to the humanitarian development project (600€).





whith a history…

In 1993, Mgr Michael B. Duraisamy, Bishop of Salem (Tamil Nadu – Southern India), informed Joseph Houyoux and Matthieu de Tillesse of his project to build some small houses. After a trip to India to visit the site and meet the building contractor, Chamu Chowriappa, the idea to bring ICHEC students into the project was born. The project received an enthusiastic and warm welcome from the students. The experience really started that year and 16 houses were built with the first 13 pioneer students.
Since then the experience has been repeated with the same enthusiasm year after year and the number of projects is steadily increasing.
Since 1993, in India, 980 students have contributed to financing and building 769 houses and several community buildings (schools, day-care centers, and a health center)

In 1999 and 2000, 38 participants went to Peru, where they financed and helped to build 2 community centers, a soccer field and a drainage network.

In 2001, the project started in Burkina Faso thanks to a partnership between the Belgian NGO Défi Belgique Afrique and the ICHEC Housing Project. Since then Burkina Faso has welcomed 161 students, who have contributed to finance the building of micro-dams and boring wells, and have participated in planting of more than 70.000 trees.

Since 2012, Benin welcomed a new project: 57 students financed food security projects, school rehabilitation projects and took part in planting several thousand trees.