When Tragedy Ignites Innovation - The Story of David Monday

January 15, 2024

It’s not often that someone takes the most difficult thing that has happened in their life and turns it into a business idea, but that’s exactly what David Monday did. A 2021 graduate of Sinapis’ Entrepreneur Academy, David’s story of innovation began in 2007 when a flood tragically destroyed his family’s timber and mud home in Kasese, Uganda, and swept away his nine-year-old brother, Amos. David’s family found Amos covered in debris and plastic bottles, and were heartbroken that they could not revive him. 

David began dreaming of alternatives to mud homes like the one he grew up in—homes that were affordable and safe, especially for flood-prone regions like Kasese, which averages 330 days of rain each year. Researching creative solutions for recycled waste, David discovered that people in Nepal were building houses out of glass bottles. He found that packing a mixture of soil, sand, and cement into plastic bottles created a strong, affordable building material that could be manufactured on-site. He called them eco-bricks. 

A turning point came in 2020 when David enrolled in Sinapis’  Entrepreneur Academy, where he learned essential skills that he used when launching his company, Pendeza Shelters, the following year. 

“The first thing Sinapis taught me was about the quality of the work,” he says. Other takeaways included how to legalize his business, guidance on contract writing, and building financial models for profitability. 

The best thing about the program, he says, was the section on Kingdom business: “I loved it! I loved the integration of it in my projects because it’s not just about prayers, but about leadership skills. About the trust that’s built within a company and the impact you want to create.” 

David’s company, Pendeza Shelters, is a home builder that transforms plastic waste into eco-friendly construction materials. To date, he and his employees have built 40 homes. Each takes roughly three months from start to finish and is made out of approximately 25,000 eco-bricks.  

Beyond durability, the houses offer an additional benefit: they are cool on the inside during the day and warm inside at night because of the way eco-bricks conduct heat. The houses are also rich in texture and design. “Pendeza,” says David, smiling, “means beautiful.”

Pendeza Shelters is different from most construction companies in Uganda because instead of taking a crew to each house site, David hires between 80 and 120 people locally when he arrives. Some collect bottles. Others compact them with soil. Still others construct the newly made eco-bricks into homes.

 David credits Sinapis with teaching him team-building skills and how to effectively serve the ever-changing communities in which he operates. So far, he’s built training facilities in three different refugee camps within Uganda, where he’s employed hundreds of men and women.

What does Pendeza Shelter’s future hold, and what are David Monday’s current goals? “My need is to start a collection center that will help me to have material on the ground that can be easily sold at a moderate price,” he says. As his company continues to construct beautiful, environmentally friendly buildings for businesses, families, and NGOs, David is thinking of the “least of these.” Right now, he’s working to increase the business’ production capacity by 20% and construct 70 houses for the 322 individuals made homeless by the recent floods in Kasese. 

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
-Luke 6:47-48
At Sinapis, we’re pioneering a solution that gets to the roots of material and spiritual poverty. We equip entrepreneurs to create and sustain jobs, establish community impact programs, and bring employees to faith in Jesus.