Habitat “makes people merrier”

2017-11-09 06:00
Nontuthuzelo Msitweni, 42, a beneficiary, and Patrick Kulati, National Director of Habitat for Humanity standing in front of the shack and nearly completed house for Msitweni, on Friday, in Mfuleni.PHOTOS: Mbongiseni Maseko

Nontuthuzelo Msitweni, 42, a beneficiary, and Patrick Kulati, National Director of Habitat for Humanity standing in front of the shack and nearly completed house for Msitweni, on Friday, in Mfuleni.PHOTOS: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Life is about to change for the better for Mfuleni residents, thanks to the efforts of the Habitat for Humanity South Africa organisation.

Habitat for Humanity South Africa is a non-profit organisation(NPO) which is breaking the cycle of poverty in the country through participatory development, advocacy and awareness.

The houses are part of a project called Build Week, which mobilises volunteers and companies to take action in changing the lives of beneficiaries. The project is done in conjunction with OLX.

The organisations have so far built about 488 house in Mfuleni, staring from 2007 to 2012 and then again in 2016.

The beneficiaries all previously stayed in shacks and substandard dwellings.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the existence of Habitat for Humanity in South Africa, with 3,600 homes built to date by over 15000 volunteers.

The month of October saw World Habitat Day, where Habitat for Humanity joined the United Nations and other organizations around the world in contributing positively to communities.

Patrick Kulati, National Director of Habitat for Humanity and the OLX team celebrated the completion of Build Week on Friday.

Kulati said they encourage corporate volunteers to get “exposed” to the daily life of residents who live in shacks and to contribute in changing their conditions.

“We have built a lot of houses for residents across the country for many years. We also teach them the ways to avoid situations whereby they will have cost to fix their houses in future. We have to be part of people’s joy. We leave here happy. Something has shifted for many people,” Kulati said.

Karla Levick, head of marketing for OLX, said “OLX cares about its people, the communities they live in, and the future of South Africa for all.

The volunteer build program is a vital catalyst for broader, long-term development of families and communities,”

Nontuthuzelo Msitweni, 42, a beneficiary, said the house was a dream coming true for her.

“My shack leak and that damaged my furnisher which I had to throw away.

My children also get sick every now and then because of the condition of the shack. I cannot wait to move-into my house. I will be in my house by December. It will be a great change for me. I am very happy,” Msitweni said.

She moved to Mfuleni, in 2010, after staying at Bekela Informal Settlements for many years.

The mother of four children aged 25, 22, and 4 years old is a single parent and she is unemployed.

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