Each year the first Monday in October is World Habitat Day, a day recognised by the United Nations to highlight the need for adequate shelter around the world. In honour of the 2014 event, Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Western Cape joined hands with international community upliftment organisation Habitat for Humanity, to construct brand new homes and support community development in Pelican Park, Cape Town. This was one of numerous Habitat builds taking place around the globe during World Habitat Day Build Week from 6-10 October.
Pam Golding Properties’ MD for the Western Cape metro region, Laurie Wener, says 60 PGP agents, management and support staff alike participated in the build with at least 10 staff on site each day. “The huge enthusiasm and team effort on site was infectious, as everyone turned their hands with gusto to mastering the mixing of dugha (mortar), laying blocks and plastering walls – vastly different from their usual daily routines.
“During this period they physically assisted in building a home with two bedrooms, an open plan lounge and kitchen and proper indoor sanitation, while the company also provided funding of R60 000 for the construction materials. For the recipients of these brand new homes constructed during World Habitat Week it may mean decent shelter for the first time in their lives – but for the greater community, the build has even wider significance. The home we helped build is for a single mother who has been on the waiting list for a home for 20 years.
“For some time now Habitat for Humanity has taken a broader approach,” says Wener, “building communities and an active citizenry as well as building houses. Besides the investment in mortar and cement, there is investment in community leadership development, skills transfer and identification of core needs – ensuring that the communities become champions of their own long-term development. This level of intervention helps to decisively break the cycle of poverty and uplift the entire community, not just the individual recipients of the new homes.”
Habitat for Humanity was established in 1976 and is an international non-governmental organisation. It is active throughout the world, addressing issues of inadequate housing in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Since its founding it has built more than 300 000 homes, providing shelter for over 1.5 million people in more than 3000 communities worldwide. It has been building homes in South Africa since 1996.