Delta Air Lines and Habitat for Humanity: Partnership in Latin America and around the world
“Building Hope Step by Step” is a project that seeks to improve the lives of 166 families in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic through home repairs and rehabilitations. Bajos de Haina has been labeled one of the most polluted places in the world, and more than 64 percent of its families are living below the poverty line.
Delta provides financial and volunteer support for the project, including a team of more than 50 employees that traveled to Bajos de Haina in March of 2012. These corporate volunteers helped to replace dirt floors, unstable walls and roofs made of rusty, corrugated tin sheets with structurally sound homes. Read more
The Dominican Republic trip was Delta’s ninth international build with Habitat for Humanity. As part of its Force for Global Good, Delta employees from around the globe use vacation time and also pay a portion of their own expenses to volunteer on the international builds to help those in need of simple, decent and affordable homes.
After the build, Delta’s Coordinator of Community Relations, Barry Mathews, talked with Habitat for Humanity about the importance of partnering with an organization like ours:
Why does Delta participate in corporate volunteerism with Habitat for Humanity?
Delta Air Lines has a strong desire to fulfill our social responsibility. We strive to provide adequate opportunities for our employees to be involved in our communities, both locally and worldwide. We do this through many organizations serving a wide variety of social needs. We are proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity, and support their mission to address the need for decent and affordable housing.
Why did you choose Habitat for Humanity Dominican Republic?
We try to spread the goodness worldwide. We’ve built in Africa, Asia and South America, but had yet to partner with Habitat for Humanity in the Caribbean. The social needs and poverty in the Dominican Republic are well documented and Delta wanted to be part of the solution.
Barry Matthews helps other volunteers passing bricks during Delta’s Force for Global Good build in the Dominican Republic.
How many countries have you visited with your program, “Force for Global Good” in partnership with Habitat?
Since 2006, Delta has partnered with Habitat for Humanity International for projects in South Africa, West Africa, India, Thailand, South America, China and the Dominican Republic. I was involved in all of these except China and India. We also had the privilege of having 11 employees participate to the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Haiti, of which I was also a participant.
Why it is important to help families build their home and life?
There is nothing so important to the future of our social environment than the wellbeing of our families, and nothing more important to the wellbeing of our families than a safe and decent place to call home.
What would you say to other companies about supporting Habitat for Humanity?
As a long time Delta employee who has been involved with our Habitat partnership for many years, I have seen firsthand the positive affect it has on my co-workers. It teaches teamwork, communication and leadership. It brings employees closer and in turns makes the workforce stronger. Participants learn a new appreciation for hard work and giving to others. What employer wouldn’t want their employees to be a part of that?
Finally, what do you take with you, after completing this experience?
I’ve been involved with the construction of more than 50 homes. One thing I always walk away with is a stronger appreciation for what I have. But more importantly than that, a stronger appreciation for what happens when you do for others. What we may consider to be very small may be monumental for others. I always tell my fellow volunteers to never underestimate the impact they are having on the lives of those we serve through Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity is grateful to Delta and all the corporate partners that help support our mission. If you are interested in partnering with Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean, please visit our Corporate Partnership page.