Learn more about Habitat Canada’s Global Village program.  
Global Village info and volunteer trips are also available at habitat.org.
By Rick Tait, director of Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Global Village program
I’m sitting on a plane at 37,000 feet, somewhere over Africa. I’m on my way to meet a group of volunteers who signed up to build a house with a South African family.
We have men and women from all walks of life, a variety of ages and a shared sense that the world is bigger than just our home in Canada. Each volunteer is not only using precious holiday time to help, they have also contributed all the funds needed to put their team in the field and made a donation to support Habitat’s program.
This is a story that I could tell 600-plus times. It is a story that spans over 30 countries, has generated more than $3 million and involves more than 8,000 volunteers just like the ones I am meeting in Durban, South Africa. This is the story of Habitat Canada’s Global Village program over the last seven years.
In 2005, a group of forward-thinking Habitat Canada volunteers and staff decided it would be wonderful to have a Global Village volunteer program in Canada. We already had volunteers who joined up through the U.S.-based program. Why not make it possible for even more Canadians to sign up at home?
Seven years later, we’re proud to be sending five times the number of Canadians on Global Village trips than when our program began. In each of the last four years, more than 100 teams have travelled the globe, led by amazing volunteer team leaders. These teams provide labor and financial support to Habitat programs in the developing world, within disaster-recovery areas and to Habitat affiliates here in Canada and the United States.
As wonderful as the last seven years have been, the future is looking even brighter. Seven is a great age! Full of wonder and energy, 7-year-olds have the world by its tail with nothing but promise ahead. For us, that means increasing the number of trips we offer and providing life-changing experiences for both the people we serve and the volunteers we send.
It takes people, deciding to make a difference, to change the world. As my plane draws closer to South Africa — to another team and a home for another family — I quietly thank all the people that have made the last seven years so special.