We celebrate our 15th Anniversary
On Wednesday, November 25, surrounded by friends and affection, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina.
We remember so many people who made this journey possible, renewing the commitment to continue working so that more families experience the love of God through the donors and volunteers that make access to adequate housing possible.
In the words of Alejandro Madero (President of the board of directors), “the only way to face this task is together with others, joining efforts and willingness”. Ana Cutts (Director), used a metaphor to refer to the intangible that is built with the house: solidarity and love of neighbor, as core values, always present, implicit in our motto «Much more than houses».
Among other things, it was recalled that, when starting the tasks in the first office, funds had not yet been raised to start the construction of the first house, although it was the dream of all those who were part of the project. Since then, the indicators account for more than 1,700 housing solutions, 142 new homes, 483 improvements, 26 rentals and more than 20,000 volunteer hours per year.
The testimonies of a family from Luján, from the group of the first ones to build their house with Habitat, and from a neighbor from the La Boca building (Rentals project), were enough to renew what it really means to receive help to overcome hard situations, and how transformative it can be to have a home in which to start a new story.
Thanks to all those who accompanied us and accompany us, in these 15 years of faith in action in which we help to build houses, but above all, communities and hope.
The project in Santa Fe starts a new stage
In the town of Recreo, Santa Fe, HPHA worked between 2005 and 2009 to help build a neighborhood of completed houses in lots.
The 15 years of the organization was celebrated there on November 5, marked a change in the life of the project in Santa Fe. The local team, formed by Mecha and José, completed their activities and plan to continue working in the neighborhood supporting the community leadership aiming that neighbors lead the next improvements themselves, as well as the sustaining of the revolving fund.
For this special occasion, the neighbors of Recreo met in the Pasaje 27 de Noviembre to paint the games, seats and beds of this children’s playground and neighbors meeting site. It was a day of teamwork and enthusiasm to organize and continue to improve common spaces. The donation of paint was in charge of the Municipality of Recreo, and we had the presence of the Mayor, Jorge Formento, who has been an unconditional supporter during these many years.
On the Revolving Fund
Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina always encourages the culture of payment directed to the common good with more than one objective. To formalize the commitment of families who are building or already living in their house ,built or rented, and to allow that fund to be transformed into housing solutions for other people are among the most important ones.
In the case of Santa Fe, this task is being shared with two nearby organizations that work in the accompaniment of families in this payment process. They are the Bank of the Poor of Villa del Parque and the Civil Association Rayo de Luz de Acería.
World Habitat Day 2017
The United Nations designated the first Monday of October of each year as the World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and on the basic right of everyone to adequate housing. This year, the theme chosen was «Housing Policies: Affordable Housing».
During that week, we participated with other organizations in the Webinar Habitat in dispute: knowing, using and transforming the law.
The presentations were given by Pablo Vitale (ACIJ), Maria Silvia Emanuelli (HIC Habitat International Coalition), Laura Lacayo and Renata Escudero (TECHO), Ariel Alejandro Sosa (Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina), Luna Miguens and Santiago Sánchez (CELS Center of Legal and Social Studies) and were moderated by Luciana Bercovich (Namati).
Latin America and the Caribbean are among the most urbanized regions of the planet and at the same time the most unequal. For this reason, the ways in which popular sectors seek to take their place in cities are through informal tenure, the occupation of vacant and often degraded urban land, and the self-construction of housing.
The proposal was aimed at sharing how organizations, leaders and settlers of the region can promote knowledge, use and transformation of the law to revert this situation and achieve better living conditions for all in Latin American cities.
On the other hand, most countries offer robust regulatory frameworks that broadly recognize the right to decent housing and adequate habitat as a result of the disputes that have arisen in various territorial organizations and civil society.
Each of the participants raised experiences and initiatives aimed at promoting access to urban habitat. Ariel referred to the Network of Women Leaders in Bolivia and to the global campaign Solid Ground (Suelo Seguro), two initiatives of the Habitat for Humanity network, and to our project of Recycling Urban Spaces for Adequate Rental. He also mentioned the space of LABs, aimed at sharing knowledge and submitting different proposals to the analysis of colleagues and experts.
«I found it a very nice activity. They told us the story of the family of Andrea and Néstor, about their five children and two grandchildren on the way, and it was very nice to helpto build the roof where they are going to live all together as a family, so I decided not to pass up the opportunity and to come with the entire team to share a whole day. «
Candelaria from Samsung
Through the Semillas de Esperanza Program, companies offer their employees the possibility of participating in construction days with the beneficiary families of our projects.
This proposal offers a transformative experience that has a positive impact not only individually but also in the group: Helping others to build their house helps planting seeds of hope so that more and more families live in adequate houses.
Candelaria, from Samsung, says «… living this experience of teamwork also helps us as a group to come together and each day be more human and more sensitive to our citizens and to the environment in which we live».
Natalia, from Quintiles, affirms «The experience was transformative because realizing that what I could do was worth it, without having the technical knowledge (which was the great fear from the beginning), and with the help of the people who accompanied us we were able to help not only in construction, but in solidarity and support. It seems to me that this was the transformation I had been waiting for. One thinks that you are going to help in something very concrete and then realizes that helping is actually something else.
The corporate volunteers not only make a substantive contribution to the self-construction process used by families, but also helpto build bridges between different realities.
This is how Charlie, from Bloomberg, told us he lived the experience: «The conditions where Mr. Emilio lived were shocking. Especially because it was a little cold that day and it had also rained a lot. I am lucky to be able to live in a comfortable way, and it always hurts to see how others do not have those comforts. It is very different from how you live in the city of Buenos Aires. The differences in the quality of life are very marked and this makes you think that you have to be more aware of how we live. «
Experiences like this help to awaken reflection and better yet, concrete action for the cause of adequate housing. Charlie says «For me it was very interesting that we did not go alone to build this house, but we also went to see other houses that were already finished and noticing the contrast between how the family was and how it could be to have a more modern house and with all the needs covered. «
For people who are thinking about volunteering, either individually or to strengthen teamwork, I would leave them with these words:
‘If anyone is in doubt, tell them to do it, to participate, to be encouraged.
It’s only a bit of the time that you give but it changes the way you see reality.
It makes us responsible for what we see around us, it makes us put up rather than complain about everything and lets us work with our hands on changing the reality that shocks us.
Natalia de Quintiles
The companies that participated this year of the Seeds of Hope Program are:
Bloomberg | Chubb | Dow | Farmacity | Ford | IRSA
P&G | Samsung | Whirlpool
«Since I was born I have my room, a kitchen where my mother Eve and my dad Nel prepare the food, a nice and clean bathroom where I like to bathe with warm water»
All children have the right to adequate housing. We know that a house to protect themselves and to live under the care of their family has effects on all aspects of children’s lives: better school, physical and intellectual performance, in addition to the feeling of security and integrity that gives them feel sheltered.
The children are direct witnesses of the process of building their houses: they must be protected at all times, but they also experience not only material aspects of the transformation, but everything that happens in between: the brigades of volunteers, the celebrations for the completion of each stage, critical moments or difficulties that delay construction. What do children and adolescents remember about the process of building their house? What did they like about it? What have they learned?
Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina organized a contest aimed at children and young people of families that are part of the Rotating Fund to tell us, through a drawing and / or a written something about the process of building their house.
The contest received seven works, which were exposed in the Office during the celebration of the 15 years and to a vote of the participants. In all cases, with the simplicity of a child, the work confirms that they feel the security and shelter of their homes.
The winner was Luz Almeira, six years old, from Recreo, Santa Fe, and Douglas Dunke, 18, Los Ceibos, received a special mention.
Both families will receive prize-winning household appliances donated by the Whirlpool company and school supplies.
We share the winning work and the special mention and we invite you to see all of them on our Facebook page.