This year we began a new journey in partnership with Mfuleni, a community where previously we built 488 houses with the help of volunteers. Building on our history, we are embarking on a journey of sustainable community development alongside the Bardale community within Mfuleni.
In the past few months, we’ve met many community members who have expressed their eagerness to partner and make a positive impact. Focusing on the need for shelter, we held our first pilot Mfuleni Team Build in May 2016 in partnership with the Bardale community and VHP Holdings, who oversees the house construction.
We teamed up with amazing Crew Leaders and our logistical crew, all from Bardale, to build 5 homes in a week. Their stories illustrate the crucial impact that partnerships and leadership development can have on a community.
Home partner Mgondiso on Shelter
After years of moving around, Mgondiso and his family will soon move into their new home. He reflects, “To move from a shack into a house – it’s something else. No one wants the shack. The house is the dream of everybody.” Living in a shack with his wife and three nieces, Mgondiso always worried about his family’s safety and health as wind, sand and rain often came in through holes and cracks in the structure. Now they can live and thrive in their new home.
Mgondiso was eager to assist in our Mfuleni Team Build. After attending a Habitat Housing Education workshop to learn about our community development process, he could always be found on his house construction site helping volunteers mix dugha and swing blocks. As the walls of his new home went up, Mgondiso always had a broad smile on his face, saying, “When you have something this big, this unexpected, you really appreciate it. There are no words.”
Crew Leader Andile on Leadership
As part of our community development programme, Habitat trains local community members to become Crew Leaders. During our Team Build events, the Crew Leaders are essential in creating a fun and safe environment. Andile was one of the five phenomenal Crew Leaders during May’s Mfuleni Team Build.
Andile provided strong leadership during the Build week, always cheering on his volunteer team and singing Xhosa songs. He said, “I am a leader of my community, but through this [Habitat Crew Leader] training process, I’ve become a better leader. I’ve learned new skills from Habitat that I can take back to my community.”
Student Builder Sindi on Livelihoods
Over the next 3 years, our partner VHP Holdings will build over 1,000 homes in Bardale. In addition, VHP is providing solutions for local youth unemployment through artisan skills training. The youth will be able to give back and invest into building their community with their new trades and knowledge.
Sindi is one of these student builders. As she learns the brick laying trade, she feels empowered with her new knowledge. She dreams of owning her own subcontracting company and believes there is nothing she can’t do! “As a woman, if I stand there on the scaffolding, a man may say ‘No woman can stand on the scaffolding.’ And I say, ‘I CAN do this job!’ When I lay the bricks, they may say ‘No no.’ But I CAN do it. It’s not only the man’s job; it’s the woman’s job. That’s what I like.” Sindi told us that she loved the Team Build and spending time with the volunteer teams on site.