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

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.

Earth Building Techniques

Brick Making

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.

Create Beauty

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

80 %

Labor Work

20 %


Regular Modern Construction

20 %

Labor Work

80 %


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

Explore Our Projects

Learn more about differrent projects in Colombia

Muzo Project

In the lush green semi-tropical jungle of the Andes Mountains lies the Muzo Emerald Mine, the source of the world’s finest emeralds.

More About Muzo Project

Brick-Making Factory

Clayhands will resurrect an adobe brick-making factory in the small town of Chanares, a settlement of 50 people, near Borbur in the valley of the Minero River, Central Colombia.

More About Brick-Making Factory

Hogares Claret Meditation Hall

Our first project was the construction of a building for 110 male orphans, children living on the street,

More About Hogares Claret Hall


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.