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Desmond Tutu Community Build

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited a Habitat for Humanity build site in the Mfuleni community near Cape Town, South Africa, on 30th May 2007 to thank more than 100 volunteers from the US, Great Britain, South Africa and India who had gathered to build 12 homes in Mfuleni township as part of the Desmond Tutu Community Build.

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu addressing the crowd of volunteers & homeowners

 

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Archbishop Tutu during his visit

 

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A volunteer taking some time out to play with the local children

The South African cleric and peace activist rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He kept hope alive in the hearts and minds of millions of South Africans with his powerful vision that justice would come and that one day all South Africans would be free. Archbishop Tutu has been a Patron of Habitat for Humanity South Africa since 2002, when former US President Jimmy Carter visited South Africa for Habitat for Humanity’s annual Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP).

Although he could not be at the opening ceremony, he sent a recorded welcome video to all the volunteers and homeowners who gathered at the local community hall. “Habitat for Humanity believes in putting faith into action and your daily actions demonstrate this love for others. As the walls go up, so many more invisible walls come down and new hope is built in the heart of the community,” he said.

The week of the built started in such high spirits that all the team leaders were adamant that they would reach their targets, which they all did. “It is always great to work with people from other countries because it shows that although we come from different places, we all have one dream: to improve the lives of the poor,” said Rasta, a house leader. The homeowners could not contain their excitement, “I still can’t believe that this is really happening. To think that the volunteers came all this way just to help me realize my dream: that’s something!” enthused Masango Joni.

When the Archbishop visited the volunteers and homeowners midway through the build week, the crowd cheered and laughed as he told them how grateful he was to the volunteers for what they were doing to alleviate poverty housing. “Sometimes, God looks down on the world … at Sudan, or Zimbabwe, or Burma … and he says ‘why do my children treat each other like this,’” Tutu told the crowd. “God looks down on the world today and sees you. And a little angel goes up and wipes a tear from God’s eye. God smiles, because he sees you doing this fantastic work!”