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More than 160 displaced families housed in Kenya

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Elizabeth attends to her peas crops outside her house, far end is a series of habitat houses in Maai Mahiu Internally Displaced People camp

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Elizabeth standing at the entrance of her house.

KENYA, 23 June 2009: It is now one year since Habitat for Humanity Kenya launched a free housing project in Maai Mahiu to help house 335 families displaced as a result of the post election violence that rocked many parts of Kenya in 2007/2008 with Central and Rift valley provinces been the worst hit areas. Thousands of people in the said regions lost their lives in the process with an estimated 600,000 people been displaced from their homes.

To date, the Habitat for Humanity Kenya initiative of housing this group of people (who decided to pool together part of the government resettlement funds of Ksh 35,000 (approximately US$467) per family and buy a piece of land collectively in Maai Mahiu) is bearing fruits. So far, 167 families once living in the very tattered tents can now afford to smile as they are sheltered in the newly built three-roomed, decent houses – courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Kenya and the kind donation of well wishers.

Elizabeth Wambui Maina (30), one of the house beneficiaries in the same camp shares her story:

“When we came here, we did not think that one day we will ever recover from what had happened in our lives. It is a day anyone who witnessed the destructions and merciless killings would not want to see a repeat of. Our small sized tent by then was not enough to house us all, and would leak heavily when it rained. On the other hand, we were forced to walk for almost seven kilometers to look for water under the scorching sun.

However, all these difficulties were to become a thing of the past when Habitat for Humanity Kenya came and decided to build us these beautiful houses. At first I thought this was one of the many promises that were being pledged by those who came here to comfort us and help us with food, clothes and medicines. But now I believe that with God everything is possible.

Today, I see great transformation in my life and that of my family too: the transformation of moving from a tattered tent to owning a house like this. I now have the energy to attend to my small Shamba (Kiswahili word for garden) and provide for my family without having to worry too much. My children too can now do their homework and sleep comfortably.

There is no other way that I can truly appreciate what Habitat for Humanity Kenya has done for us. It is only God who can reward them abundantly. I am happy to have this house but also worried when I see my dear brothers and sisters who are yet to be housed still living in tents. We don’t want to have two tribes here; a tribe that have permanent houses and one that still living in tents. My prayer for now is that more help will come and Habitat for Humanity will not tire to help our brothers move out of these tents. We want to be one big family that shares similar experiences and challenges in our camp and that our children and generations to come will share.”

Elizabeth is the single mother to three children (Agnes Wangui, 11, Brian Njuguna, 7 and Gladys Wanjiru, 2) and is one of the 167 families that Habitat for Humanity Kenya (HFHK) has so far helped move into new and decent three roomed houses since October 2009. Despite the many challenges of housing these families, HFHK is determined and optimistic that through the support of both local and international donors, the project will come to a close and become one big success story in the history of this nation (Kenya).