Building new homes in South Africa
Eight new homes appeared at the Orange Farm in Gauteng, South Africa, in April 2011. Around 130 people gathered there for one week to build with the low-income families.
The group of volunteers was formed by the employees of the world’s top steelmaker – ArcelorMittal. With the majority of people coming from ArcelorMittal’s factories in South Africa and eight of them travelling from the global offices –Latin America, Europe and Asia.
For the South African families, it was the first home that they had ever owned. The construction process started from scratch – from mixing mortar and laying bricks on the first day to putting up roofs on the last day. ArcelorMittal also invited some of its customers and suppliers to participate in the building activity with them.
Volunteering experience in South Africa
ArcelorMittal’s workers from factories in South Africa frequently help build homes at the Orange Farm. However, this is the first time they were joined by their international colleagues.
“It is my first time coming to South Africa and I am having a very good experience because it is an opportunity to help someone in my life. I am happy that I am helping a family to have a house. This experience will stay with me for the rest of my life, “ said Thiago Salles, an employee of ArcelorMittal. Thiago traveled to South Africa from Brazil.
“Building a house for the family has made me feel good about myself and I feel peace inside of me. I must say that I will always remember the people in South Africa, especially their smiles,” said Nacho Maquinay from ArcelorMittal in Spain.
Orange Farm is a township located 45 kilometers from Johannesburg. It started as an informal settlement in 1988 and was formally established in 1990. Today, it has almost a million residents.
The ArcelorMittal Foundation has been a partner of Habitat since 2008. The world’s top steelmaker has teamed up with Habitat to build and renovate hundreds of homes as well as to create a groundbreaking steel-framed model of a durable, safe and affordable home.
In addition to building and renovating, the ArcelorMittal Foundation has supported Habitat’s reconstruction efforts in Haiti. To date, steel donated by the company has been used in 310 transitional shelters. There are plans to build a further 1,900 units.
What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:
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