Our Awakening Passions journey brought us a visit with Brenda who volunteers with Habitat For Humanity here in Calgary and all over the world. Our usual Awakening Passions day is on Friday, but this was a special day for our class as we welcomed Brenda in on a Tuesday because she was set to leave on her next journey to help build a house for a family in Dominican Republic. We were grateful to Brenda for coming out during a time when she was very busy with her preparations.
“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 began by explaining 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 told us about how the importance of having a home became so key 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 this is why she now volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.
We learned where Brenda has helped to build houses. The first place was in Thailand where a 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 built homes with bathrooms and running water for 82 families in Thailand. These homes keep the rain out and help the families live a much better life.
The second place Brenda helped to build homes was in Zambia, Africa. They lived in a “house” made of wood, plastic and a dirt floor. They weren’t even able to lock their door to protect their things! Brenda and Habitat for Humanity helped them to build their house where they can now protect their possessions.
Brenda then went to Bolivia where they helped a family build their house using bricks made out of clay. They too had not had a way to protect their belongings since their home did not have a lock. The new house had a locking door and bars on the windows to let the air in, but not people!
Brenda has also built homes in Guatemala and Nicaragua where the people were living in homes made of wood and plastic because their houses had been destroyed by an earthquake. They used cinder blocks and build the house until they got to the roof. The local Habitat workers then finished the house after Brenda and her crew had left.
Brenda has also built in Chile and even right here in Southern Alberta. She helps with builds all year long, even when it’s -23 degrees outside!
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. They also have two stores in 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. Our class made thank you cards for the volunteers who help.
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/