By Ellina Kushnir, Rotary Service and Engagement
Committed to the belief that every person deserves a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in Georgia, USA. Families and individuals in need of a helping hand partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Since 1976, Habitat and its 1.8 million yearly volunteers have served more than 9.8 million people in 70 countries around the world.
Today we celebrate World Habitat Day by supporting access to safe shelter, a basic human right. To help clubs and districts empower their communities through access to affordable shelter, Rotary is pleased to announce a service partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
This new partnership aims to help enhance club and district-led service activities by providing access to resources and programming. Clubs can work with Habitat affiliates and local communities to design and provide long-term, affordable housing to families most in need of shelter.
“The values of our organizations are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep for both groups. That makes us such a perfect match,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan T.M. Reckford and member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. “So many Rotarians have worked alongside Habitat and the knowledge, experiences and connections that are so strong in local Rotary clubs will make them valuable Habitat partners in many communities worldwide.”
Clubs are already partnering with Habitat, below are a few examples:
- Rotarians and Rotaractors from the Port of Spain West clubs in Trinidad and Tobago partnered with Habitat for Humanity to paint a newly constructed home for a qualifying local family.
- In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the Rotary Club of Nashville in Tennessee, USA, helped build 16 homes for qualifying local families. From providing project funding to working side-by-side with experts to physically frame a house, the club members built fellowship and supported the community through hands-on service work.
- Members from five clubs in Trinidad and Tobago rolled up their sleeves alongside international visitors from California to partner with Habitat for Humanity on a two-bedroom house for a mother fighting cancer. The Rotarian volunteers assisted the skilled construction workers by assisting with landscaping and organizing materials for the physical construction.
- The Rotary Club of Ciudad de Guatemala and the Rotary Club of Templeton in California, USA, partnered with Habitat for Humanity’s Guatemala affiliate to equip a low-income community with a children’s park serving 166 families.
On World Habitat Day, and every day, Habitat for Humanity reminds us to join together as a global community in sharing the message that a decent place to live can remove barriers to opportunity, health and success.
Through hands-on volunteering, financial support, or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can empower families to achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, visit their website. Explore opportunities for your club to partner with a Habitat affiliate by reaching out to your local Habitat.