Lack of affordable housing is a primary cause of homelessness. Volunteering to help build houses in Durban as part of the 2002 Jimmy Carter Work Project and Habitat for Humanity’s initiative, proved to be a great challenge for 25 of our employees mostly, from our South African businesses.
Working long hours, but under trained supervision, our employees toiled hard for a week to help build houses for the homeless in Cato Manor, Durban. As a result of theirs, and many others efforts involved in the Jimmy Carter work-week in June 2002, 100 houses were completed. Each prospective home-owner was there too, busy with the rest of the volunteers, putting in sweat equity towards his or her future home.
Great team spirit prevailed throughout the week and it proved to be a very positive team-building experience. As one volunteer said:
‘It was quite obvious that none of us have ever done anything like this before and it proved to be a great challenge. Many of us went home at night feeling a bit battered and bruised but the real cause made it all the more worth doing. It was about giving but at the same time we received. It was great fun to be part of this group event and it felt really good inside’
To acknowledge this group effort, $3,000 was donated to Habitat for Humanity from the Employee Matching Fund and BP will be given the opportunity to advise on the Durban projects this should support.
Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to eliminate substandard housing and homelessness from the world. Houses are sold to families at no profit and financed with affordable no-interest loans. The homeowners monthly mortgage payments and their own labour are then used to build still more houses. Since its inception back in 1976 more than 125,000 houses have been built by Habitat, providing more than 625,000 people with safe affordable shelter. The organisation is active in 83 countries around the world.