The First Lady of Suriname initiated the groundbreaking ceremony of Habitat in Surinam.
The initiative for HFH Suriname  was taken by two employees of the Foundation for Projects for Christian Education (SPCCOS). Mrs Yvonne Caprino and Mrs Yvonne Jong of SPCCOS explain that a lot of children are not able to get good education due to their situation at home. Lack of adequate housing is one of the problems that children aren’t able to finish their education. Therefore they initiated the founding of HFH Suriname to tackle the housing problem in Suriname
Since then a lot of action was needed to get HFH Suriname established, but in 2003 a National Office was created together with the first affiliate Paramaribo-South, which is located in the capitol of Suriname. In partnership with HFH the Netherlands a donation was received from the Province Noord-Holland to start a Health Project, which includes the building of the first 6 houses for HFH Suriname as well as health education for all partner families.
The First Lady, in her role as president of the Fund for Social Action (FOSA), was very interested in the Health Project of HFH Suriname. Therefore she honored the first stone ceremony with her presence. Mrs Venetiaan was invited to place a plaque of dedication at the building site. The First Lady had no problem knocking the plaque with a big hammer into the ground and it looked like she was an experienced carpenter! Then she was also invited to lay the second stone, something she apparently had done before. The whole ceremony was blessed by Father Virgillio from the Catholic Church. His words reminded all the audience of their responsibility to help the ones who are in need.
HFH Suriname’s first house will become the property of Mrs Yvonne Melcherts and her children and grandchildren. This family of 5 lives now in a rented house, without a toilet. Mrs Melcherts works as a cleaner for the government. She says “she is looking forward to have her own home, where she can stay dry during the rainy season.” With her son in law Romeo being part of her building crew, that wish could be realized very soon because Romeo is working really fast. Let’s hope and pray for Mrs Melcherts and HFH Suriname that they have their first house dedication soon.
Mirjam Pronk  is a volunteer of Habitat for Humanity Suriname
By Mirjam Pronk*