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Families have a safe home to call their own in Pelican Park

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Housing & Living Conditions
Young and Old Volunteers help Build Homes

Volunteers across all ages helped build 30 homes for disadvantaged families in celebration of the United Nations (UN) World Habitat Day, playing a vital role in helping to address the desperate need for safe and affordable housing in South Africa. Internationally 70 countries took part in this year’s World Habitat Day celebrations on Monday 6 October. In South Africa, Habitat for Humanity partnered with the City of Cape Town, Power Construction, Western Cape Government and about 1000 volunteers to host World Habitat Day Build Week from 6 – 10 October to help build the community in Pelican Park.

Habitat for Humanity’s marketing manager, Adrienne Burke, said: “We are so grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who came together to help build homes during our build week.” She said the beneficiaries of the homes have never owned houses before. “Most have spent their entire lives sharing houses or outhouses with friends or family. The places they lived in are too small, have little or no privacy and are often hazardous to their health due to bad sanitation,” said Burke. 


“People of different ages and from all walks of life have given up their time to take part in helping to build homes for others,” she said. 


Anna-Michaela Miller, donated her bar mitzvah money to help build a home for a family. “I am turning 12 soon and in Judaism that means I am entering adult-hood and assuming the responsibilities of an adult. In Judaism we say mitzvoth, meaning it is a privilege to do good deeds,” said Anna-Michaela.  

“I was born in a special time of the year called Succot, when Jewish people are meant to live in temporary structures exposed to the elements. It isn’t always comfortable especially when it’s cold and raining. While this festival is observed for only eight days, I realised there are people who permanently live like this and I wanted to do something to help them,” she said. 


75 year old, Irvin Spocter from the St James Church, participated in the build. “I did it because we have more than we need and I wanted to give the beneficiary something. I have been reading about squatter camps and wanted to do something to help. I really enjoyed this experience, it’s been great meeting the other volunteers.”


Habitat for Humanity’s Burke, said the organisation’s focus has shifted from just providing housing, to helping communities bring about sustainable change themselves through the organisation’s Social Facilitation programme. “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. 


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. “Our Social Facilitation 

Programme aims to bring sustainable change to the lives of the new homeowners by instilling a sense of citizenship, ownership and the establishment of a cohesive and vibrant new community,” said Burke.  


Gem, a 16-year-old pupil at SACS school who took part in the build, said: “Everyone should do this. It’s rewarding knowing that the place where you are standing and working now, will be someone’s home.” 


All donations to Habitat for Humanity go towards the organisation’s Social Facilitation Programme. Contact Adrienne Burke, adrienne@habitat.org.za, to get involved. 

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