How volunteers helped a Mfuleni mom to finally bring her sons home

2017-02-27 08:15
Fuziwe Veli during the construction of her house in Mfuleni. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Fuziwe Veli during the construction of her house in Mfuleni. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Habitat For Humanity empowers communities through new programme

2014-06-23 08:17

Adrienne Burke from Habitat For Humanity introduces us to the new community development program. Find out how the organization is empowering communities through education and training. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - Fuziwe Veli never had to step out of her home to know what the weather was. When the wind blew, she felt it inside her tiny shack, and when the rain poured, it seeped in through the roof.

But after staying alone without her two sons because of her living conditions, the Mfuleni mother will finally have a brick home with ample space to allow her to be reunited with her family.

For five days, volunteers from - of which News24 is part of - swopped their laptops for hard hats and physical labour to build a two-bedroomed house with a bathroom and open plan kitchen and lounge for Veli, who has never lived in a brick house.

Alongside and under the guidance of Habitat for Humanity, staff mixed cement, passed on the bricks to build the walls, smoothed the structure and cleared the site in the week-long project.

Unemployed locals are trained as crew leaders to be construction supervisors and receive payment for their services. They ensure that the house is built according to specifications.

Veli, 42, earns an income of about R400 from selling herbal soap in Mfuleni, which is 30 kilometres from the Cape Town city centre.

But last week she kept a watchful eye as her home was built, even wearing a hard hat while mixing cement and bringing cold water for those working on site.

“They are not just building me a house, they are creating a new life for me with my children. My boys are finally going to be able to come home,” she said with a clap of her hands.

Her sons live with their grandparents.

First night planned

“They phone me every time and ask me when they will be able to come stay with me. But no mother would want her children to live like this,” she said.

Her shack is tiny, and her furniture consists of a bed, wardrobe and broken fridge she uses to store her groceries.

A borrowed TV keeps her entertained, and she warms her food in a microwave belonging to a friend.

“I may not have furniture, but that is not important. I have a house! I will live under a proper roof and have brick walls for the first time.”

She already has her first night planned.

“I am going to get into my bath and just lie in it. I have always washed in a plastic tub, and used an outside toilet and tap. I am so excited about my bathroom – it is going to be beautiful.”

Since 2007, Habitat for Humanity has built 488 homes in Mfuleni alone.

Habitat for Humanity

The area comprises more than 20 000 households, many of which house the elderly, disabled and poor.

Crew leader Andile Magidigidi, 37, has overseen dozens of constructions since being trained by Habitat for Humanity six years ago.

The filmmaker lost his only source of income in a shack fire where all his equipment was destroyed.

“But I love what I do now. The skills I have developed and the training I have received means I can build a house from the foundation, all the way to the roof,” he said.

Magidigidi enjoys the physical labour that comes with working on site.

“But the best thing is seeing people’s faces when they get the keys to their homes. Nothing compares to that happiness and knowing you helped to make that happen. That feeling is amazing.”

Read more on:    media24  |  cape town  |  housing  |  good news

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