If we want to see a world without poverty, we must first create a world
where everyone has a decent place to live
Last week local and international volunteers helped to build 30 houses for 30 beneficiaries in Pelican Park, Cape Town, to celebrate UN World Habitat Day and help address the desperate need for decent housing in South Africa.
More than 70 countries around the world took part in this international event on Monday 6 October. Habitat for Humanity, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, Power Construction, Western Cape Government and the support of about 1000 volunteers hosted World Habitat Day Build Week from 6 – 10 October to build a community in Pelican Park.
Habitat for Humanity marketing manager, Adrienne Burke, said the organisation’s focus has shifted from simply building people a house to programme of Social Facilitation. “This new approach encompasses capacity building to ensure the new homeowners have the information they need to make informed decisions about their home and their new community,” she said.
“We are focused on educating and helping the new homeowners understand the housing development process from the outset, including the role of the stakeholders in the community, the design of their house and other important practical homeowner information, preparing them for the reality of this investment.”
According to Burke, the beneficiaries had never owned homes, and most have spent their entire lives sharing houses or outhouses with friends or family. A beneficiary of the Pelican Park build, Deborah Beukman has spent her life sharing accommodation and living in the homes of others. She said: “It is impossible to relax because I constantly have to walk on eggshells for fear of causing offence. I am looking forward to having space of her own so my children and grandchildren can visit me freely and often.”
Sollie and Trooi Marlow, have lived their entire lives in shacks and various outhouses and garages on other people’s property with bucket toilets for sanitation. “We are looking forward to finally finding peace and relaxing in our own home,” said Sollie.
Moegamat Nazeem Solomon, moving from a one-roomed backyard shack he shares with his whole family said the biggest threat in that community was the gangsterism and drugs. “I hope there is some community activity to get involved in at Pelican Park to keep it free from gangsterism and I like to see more gardens.” Nicolize Le Roux, moving from a 1-bedroomed house in Grassy Park that she shared with her mother and son, has longed for “a better and safer place to live.”
Charmaine Adams, moving from a one-roomed house in Lotus River which she shared with her two children, grandchild and her sister has asthma and feels her living conditions are not good for her health. “I would love to be healthier,” she said. Celia Rabie said: “I was so worried I would fall ill and become bedridden in the small wooden house with bad sanitation that I share with my daughter and two grandchildren.”
Many beneficiaries spoke of beautifying their new homes, making them their own. The Pelican Park project is a Green Fields project, meaning that people are moved there from other communities. Burke said: “In line with our Social Facilitation programme, we are also offering beneficiaries DIY workshops so that they can foster practical skills, whilst building relationships with their new neighbours.”
Throughout the Social Facilitation process Habitat for Humanity coaches, mentors and empowers the new homeowners with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions, to understand and value their home as an asset and the responsibilities associated with this investment, said Burke “Our Social Facilitation Programme aims to bring sustainable change to the lives of the new homeowners by inculcating a sense of citizenship, ownership and the establishment of a cohesive and vibrant new community.”
“We encourage others to join us in using their hearts and hands to take action, providing hope and helping to build transformed and sustainable communities in this wonderful country of ours,” said Burke. All donations will go towards the Social Facilitation Programme.
Habitat for Humanity – South Africa
Ph: +2721-657 5640 Ext 118
Fax: +2721-671 1315
Mobile: +2779 155 8404
E-mail: [email protected]
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