Spreading self-sufficiency through earth-building skills
in rural Colombia and South America

About Clayhands

Bright young men and women, their families and communities can be involved in building their own homes; often without the burden or expense of mortgages. Skills learned can be the basis of further employment and careers. Earth, mud and straw in Colombia is free and labor is abundant. Clayhands teaches the building of adobe and pressed earth houses using traditional skills that give involvement and employment to the Andes mountain Community.

Our Story

Clayhands is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit formed three years ago legally operating in California and in Colombia. In order to show what we are capable of doing, we built a 32 by 50-foot teaching and meditation hall for 110 boys 9-17 years old, as part of the therapeutic community called Hogares Claret, operated by Father Gabriel Mejia. Then we gave it away to Padre Gabriel and his very deserving foundation. Our next projects will involve more building, teaching, and involvement in Colombia’s rural communities near eastern Boyacá, the emerald mining region.

This video was recorded in Sasaima, Colombia at the Hogares Claret foundation where Clayhands built our first project. Padre Gabriel’s rehabilitation of addicts and alcoholics takes place in residence over nine months after which the boys return to their families and to society. Padre Gabriel was the recipient of the Queen Sofia of Spain award for the most successful non-governmental therapeutic community. In November 2016 a beautiful inauguration was held to celebrate the completion of the meditation hall.

View the Inauguration of Hogares Claret

Near the town of Borbur in the Minero River valley, is a small settlement of fewer than 50 people. Clayhands will restore the town’s brick factory, teaching residents earth-based building techniques and revitalizing construction practices.

Our projects revive communities, and create beauty, connection, and employment for locals.

Earth Building Techniques

30% of the world’s population live in homes built of earth.

In many countries, it is a cultural legacy, and Clayhands builders know it is worth preserving.

Clayhands is restoring a building that is 150 years old in the center of Bogotá. These images shows how part of the 150-year-old adobe wall is being left uncovered to celebrate and showcase the original elemental structure. The Clayhands headquarters in Bogota will be housed here.

Earth-based Construction


Regular modern construction


When building with clay, sand, and straw, employment and community involvement surge.

Explore our Projects


Learn more about our different projects in Colombia

Our Partners

Reviving the lost art of earth-based construction in Colombia

With your help, we can continue our work in Colombia’s rural communities teaching crucial building skills, creating employment and opportunities in the region, and providing revitalized spaces for community development.