KDI Blog Lastest happenings and insights from KDI

Karibu Ali and Pearl!

We are excited to introduce you to our two new summer interns who will be working away this summer in Kibera. Ali Karlen joins us from Portland as this summer’s design intern working on KPSP05 and KPSP06. Pearl Grace comes to us from Chelina’s alma mater (Harvard GSD) and will be working at all sites with our community development team. Welcome ladies! Read a bit more about each of them below:


Pearl was raised in Austin, Texas and currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work has previously dealt with marginalized and/or displaced populations both domestic and abroad. Her international work includes strengthening urban resiliency in post-disaster informal settlements through the establishment of better communication networks (Mindanao, Philippines); analyzing the effectiveness of community spaces within social housing complexes (Amsterdam Metro Area); and working with Architects and Planners to find ways of incorporating local history into new building typologies (Shanghai, China). Back in Austin, she worked to promote educational equity and opportunity within East Austin housing project blocks. She is most interested in multi-disciplinary collaboration, particularly in the context of public interest design and sustainable community development. In her free time she likes to read, watercolor paint, and seek out quiet landscapes. Her favorite color is Midnight Blue.


Ali Karlen is the summer Design Intern at Kounkuey Design Initiative, hailing from Portland, OR.  Through her experience at university, she found inspiration in sustainable design and came to believe that architecture and design have an immeasurable capacity for problem-solving.  Following this belief, she also co-founded Portland for Nepal: a collective of young designers working to design and build a paradigm-shifting school in the rural village of Kumari, Nepal. Ali recently graduated cum laude from the Portland State University School of Architecture, where she received her undergraduate degree and was awarded the department’s 2013 Overall Achievement Award in her senior year.


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