Days after graduating from business school at Stanford University in 2014, Gayatri Datar set off for Rwanda to pursue an unorthodox goal: to rid the world of dirt floors, which can make people sick.
“There are bugs all over the place. Termites. Jiggers. Worms,” she explains. “Babies don’t have diapers, so kids poop and pee on the floors. They’re hard to clean. They don’t look good. People hate them.” Yet more than one billion people live on dirt because they can’t afford anything better.
Datar’s start-up nonprofit, EarthEnable, sells an earthen floor made of locally sourced clay, pebbles, and sand, sealed with a proprietary eco-friendly varnish. It costs about $70 per home, far less than concrete.