housing and education model
The partnership with the VELUX FOUNDATIONS, philanthropic foundations based in Denmark, on the project improving lives of at-risk children and adolescents in Bulgaria started in 2014. By helping families improve their living conditions and combining this with educational, health, and social support services, the project aims to break the cycle of poverty for these children.
Sofia, 29 November, 2018 – We are proud to say that until the end of June 2018 the project has supported a total of 3,278 children either through home improvements or through various social and educational activities, such as after-school classes, outdoor lessons, parent’s meetings, etc.
“The program’s mechanism and the partnerships reached have been extremely successful, as the rate of return on the non-interest-bearing loans is very high, given that the people in the communities we work with, are experiencing serious financial difficulties. From the regular visits to family homes, it is clear that funds are being used appropriately and housing improvements are in place. As a result, a large number of children have improved their health and the school attendance rate is significantly higher.
The practical financial trainings on residential and energy efficiency are part of the program and interest in them is also huge, with some 650 people trained so far,” said Mincho Benov, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria.
Thanks to our successful work with the communities and high loans repayment rate for the home improvements, the majority of the repaid loans can be reused for new loans. However, part of the repayments is allocated as grants for local nonprofit organizations that provide social, educational and community support services. Some of the services they provide include financial management training, basic construction skills and other professional qualifications. Families learn how to properly plan budgets and set aside monthly repayments as well as develop new skills to help them find employment.
Education is a critical element of the program. There are education-related obligations that promote education among young children and adolescents and ensure behavior change in low-income families. One of them—showing proof of school records or school enrolment certificates for children—increases the likelihood of getting a loan.
The housing and education model that Habitat for Humanity developed with the support from the VELUX FOUNDATIONS can be part of the solution faced by many marginalized communities. This model offers the people and Bulgaria a chance for communities like these to build strength, stability and self-reliance at little or no cost.
About the VELUX FOUNDATIONS
THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS are comprised of the two non-profit foundations VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN. Among their grant areas are natural, technical, health and human sciences, as well as environmental, social and cultural purposes in Denmark and internationally. In 2017, the two foundations gave joint grants of approx. EUR 168 million. To learn more about The Velux Foundations visit www.veluxfoundation.dk.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a path out of poverty, since 1976 Habitat has helped more than 22 million build or improve the place they call home. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To learn more, donate or volunteer visit www.habitatemea.org.