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Service learning around the world

 

You can also support families in South Africa!

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According to George Cowell, teacher at Hewens and Rosedale College in Middlesex, “Working with Habitat for Humanity has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life and one, which, without doubt, has benefited and touched the lives of the students within our college.  For seven months, we fundraised within our community:  to create a new home for the Mbeje Family in Durban, South Africa.

Seeing the group form as a team and the long-lasting friendships develop was an incredible privilege. If the students involved did not understand the power of working effectively with others before the trip, they certainly did by the end.  From the minute we started work on the build site, the students, teachers, local builders and the members of the family worked tirelessly to achieve our goal. Students were quickly taught skills they never believed they would learn; bricklaying, plastering, creating cement and tiling.  Whilst building, students were able to learn about the family and the Zulu culture, eating delicious local food, taking part in local traditions and sharing stories with the family whose home we were building.

The atmosphere on the site was fantastic. There was an incredible feeling of shared ambition and hard work, a sense that everyone was giving all they could to the project and a huge amount of laughter and fun throughout.   Although the entire five days of building were memorable, a few moments stand out that will simply never be forgotten. In particular, the final tile being laid on the roof by the two sons of the family was extremely poignant. Having never had a secure roof capable of keeping out the rain before, the significance was not lost on anyone. Together, we were creating a better future for this incredibly deserving family.

Throughout the experience you could see the students growing in confidence and stature as they secured small victories every hour of every day. Whether it was teaching a local child to count to ten in English, or solving a problem they previously thought impossible, everywhere you looked students were setting themselves targets and beating them. In many ways this was an aspect of our project that I had underestimated initially, but the longer I spent in South Africa, the more I realised that the successes of our trip would be far more wide reaching than bricks we laid in South Africa.”

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 Middle East and Africa in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects in South Africa.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in this country.

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