Habit for Humanity SA chose to turn Nelson Mandela Day into Nelson Mandela Week, after mobilising volunteers to spend 40 hours constructing more than 67 homes in the Pelican Park area. The initiative was run in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela foundation, Power Construction, and the City of Cape Town, to honour the legacy of the late South African president.
The groups marketing manager, Adrienne Burke, said they had received an overwhelming response from people towards the initiative, with volunteer teams coming from as far away as the USA, Northern Ireland, Malawi, and South Korea amongst others. This positive response resulted in the construction of 71 homes, four more than the initial target.
“Nelson Mandela asked us all to come together and take action, and to build the country of our dreams. This particular week, the people have shown it,” she said.
According to Burke, each house had been built to the size of 40 square metres and would contain two bedrooms, a bathroom, lounge, and a kitchen.
The recipients of these newly built homes will now participate in a ‘social facilitation project’, which is a sixweek module aimed at empowering the people of the community. They will be taught various skills on how to manage their new homes, and how to continue the initiative in their own capacity.
“They are taught about the roles and practicalities of owning a home and they are introduced to DIY workshops. They are also taught to understand the role of stakeholders and the whole construction process. Everything is to do about their community and this project,” she said.
Burke said the goal behind the project would be to create a socially cohesive community in the area. This was particularly important, since it would be the first time in the city that the organisation had brought together three different income levels.
“You’ve got your ‘breaking new grounds’ which is the sector we work with and you’ve got your gap market that don’t qualify for a full subsidy, but also don’t qualify for a mortgage. Then you also get the open market, which are the mortgage homes,” she said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)