Habitat for Humanity’s annual Corporate Blitz Build week has produced new homes for 44 families in poor communities all around South Africa.
The Blitz Build is a mutual project of the South African chapter of the global humanitarian NGO Habitat for Humanity (HFH), the national Department of Human Settlements and a wide variety of private companies.
Having an preliminary objective of 50 houses in total, the building project was held from 3 to 7 October in Orange Farm in Gauteng province, Mfuleni in the Western Cape and Umbumbulu in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Volunteers coming from the Industrial Development Corporation, Nedbank Home Loans, Microsoft South Africa, 3M, the Deutsche Bank Africa Foundation, ArcelorMittal South Africa and many others, provided five days of their time to build brand new houses for needy households.
They were helped by professional builders, who made certain that the houses went up inside the designated time, and were actually of an acceptable standard.
The big event coincided with World Habitat Day, which this year fell on 3 October. In 1985 the UN declared that the first Monday of October each year should be earmarked as a day of reflection on the need for adequate housing for all.
In acknowledgement of the work done by HFH in South Africa, the UN presented its 2009 Habitat Scroll of Honour to the Gauteng project, which in that year took place in Alexandra, east of Johannesburg.
Up to now the housing organisation, which commenced its local operations in 1996, has assisted 3 143 families in 34 communities across Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
This year will also see the completion of the 500 000th HFH home worldwide – this accomplishment is going to be commemorated in Kenya.
The wait is over
The majority of the construction took place in Orange Farm, a sizable informal settlement located in between Johannesburg and Vereeniging on Gauteng province’s southern border.
Here, 34 houses, of the 39 initially planned for the community, took shape inside the five days, while the balance was built in the two other provinces.
Jethro Mashile and his family happen to be the recipients of the Nedbank Home Loans initiative in Orange Farm. Having resided for 12 years in a very small two-roomed house, family members were ecstatic to have additional space.
“We are happy, happy, happy,” said Mashile’s wife Wendy.
Both of them are out of work and survive on a miniscule social grant as their only regular income. To support themselves along with their two children, they take no matter what temporary employment they can find, which includes collecting metal cans, that can bring in a small amount of cash as soon as the cans are handed in for recycling.
The Mashile family has been on the government’s low-cost housing list for six years. Today, with an all new four-roomed house with electricity and running water, the parents believe they can offer their children a significantly better future in a respectable home.
“We’ve been associated with Habitat for Humanity since 2004,” said Eugene Drotskie, the GM of Nedbank Home Loans. “We think about this exercise to be a natural extension of our day-to-day work of being able to help individuals to acquire a home, and we discover that it makes a contribution to team-building at the same time.”
Nedbank Home Loans staff took part in all three building initiatives in 2011.
“People in our Cape Town and Durban branches were starting to complain about being left out,” said Drotskie.
The project at the same time falls in line with the banking group’s corporate social investment policy, which happens to be led by the Nedbank Foundation and focuses primarily on challenges such as health, job creation, community development and education.
To get involved contact Habitat for Humanity directly – click here