We were lucky, once again, to have Brenda from Habitat for Humanity come in to talk to us about what they do to help people. Brenda is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity who has traveled to many places to build houses with families who do not suitable housing.
“Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward our vision by building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.” –Habitat for Humanity
Brenda explained to us how Habitat For Humanity started. We learned that a man and his wife, Millard and Linda Fuller, realized that he had a lovely home, but that some people do not have the shelter they need. At first they went to Africa with a goal of building 1 million homes for families there. At that time the organization was called the Fund for Humanity. When they returned to the United States, they started Habitat for Humanity International in 1976.
Brenda talked to us about what the words habitat and humanity meant so that we could understand what the name of the organization means. Habitat for Humanity builds houses all over the world and Brenda has been to many places such as Thailand, Africa, Bolivia, Guatemala, Chile and Portugal. Brenda has also helped Calgary families build homes. That is a lot of homes to build!
Some of the main things we heard Brenda say about the homes she has helped to build are:
Thailand: The family lived in a one bedroom house with a dirt floor. When the rains came, their floor was all mud and definitely not a place for people to live. They did not have a door so their things were easily stolen by thieves.
Zambia: The family’s house was covered in a tarp and was made of plastic. They also had no way to protect their possessions. Now they have a house made of concrete with a door and windows.
Bolivia: They helped a family build their house using bricks made out of clay.
Guatemala and Nicaragua: The houses here were made of wood, tin and plastic. The doors were just towels!
Chile: The houses built here are closest to the kinds of houses built in Calgary. The people here don’t have tools and cranes to help build houses. They have to use their body strength to build!
Portugal: In this country, some of the families live in houses made of wooden pallets. When they went to build, they were able to re-use some of the wood for the house.
We wondered how Brenda decided to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. She told us how important having a home became to her when she was a child living with her family in a one bedroom rental suite without enough money to buy a house. When Brenda was in elementary school, her family moved into a house. The need for a home is very, very important to Brenda and she believes she can help others to have the shelter they need.
We talked about how Habitat for Humanity gets the funds to help families build a house. Brenda explained that Habitat for Humanity does a lot of fundraising. They have different events to help them raise money for building houses like wrapping Christmas presents and hosting Ride Through the Rockies. They also have two stores called Calgary Restore where people can make donations and the items, including new and used furniture, appliances and building materials are sold to people.
One way that kids can take action is to pass the word on about Habitat For Humanity since you have to be 16 to volunteer to build. Brenda told us, “In whatever way works for you, you need to share and do what you can.”
A special thank you to Brenda for coming to talk to us about what Habitat For Humanity does and how she helps them.
You can learn more about Habitat For Humanity Canada on their website: https://www.habitat.ca/