- Capital: Dublin
- Population: 5 million
- Urbanization: 63.8%
- Life expectancy: 80.9 years
- Unemployment rate: 6.1%
- Population living below poverty line: 8.3%
Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Ireland
- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 2002
- Families served in Ireland: 50
- Volunteers hosted in Ireland: Over 2,000
- Volunteers mobilized for global projects: Over 2,500
- Funds raised: Over €2 million
Habitat for Humanity in Ireland
Early in 2001, a group of enthusiastic individuals and representatives of churches and housing organizations from Dublin got interested in Habitat for Humanity’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
In June 2002, a core group headed to Durban, South Africa, for Habitat’s annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in order to experience Habitat’s work firsthand. Upon their return, they formed a steering board and started an affiliation process. At the end of 2002, Habitat’s International Board of Directors met in Belfast and approved Habitat Ireland as a national organization.
The housing need in Ireland
Affordability of housing is one of the biggest problems in Ireland, especially for low-income families. This problem worsened during the 2008 economic crisis. With the rising costs of housing, rent and utilities, many families simply cannot afford to become homeowners.
How Habitat addresses the need in Ireland
Local renovation program in Dublin
Habitat Ireland’s Irish-based construction program seeks to partner with the Dublin City Council and other organizations to increase access to simple, decent housing for low-income families and vulnerable groups. Habitat Ireland partners with local organizations to renovate homes with families in Dublin City Centre. Our work provides opportunities for low-income families to become first-time homeowners and achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.
‘A Brush with Kindness’ in Dublin
In our ‘A Brush with Kindness’ program we partner with like-minded organizations to renovate or refurbish housing and community facilities with vulnerable groups. In the current economic climate, charities are being squeezed more than ever. As resources diminish, the need for the services they provide are at an all-time high. This initiative enables Habitat Ireland’s partners to increase their capacity to deliver their services while Habitat works to help individuals improve their living conditions.
Habitat’s Global Village international volunteer engages members of the Irish public to travel overseas to volunteer on Habitat projects for one to two weeks. Each trip is a unique, grassroots experience in which volunteers work alongside future homeowners to build their home. Volunteers are also immersed in the local culture. Since 2002, more than 2,500 volunteers have travelled overseas with Habitat Ireland, raising over €2 million for Habitat building projects overseas.
Since 2007, Habitat Ireland has partnered with Habitat Zambia on the implementation of an Orphans and Vulnerable Children, or OVC, project which is generously supported by Irish Aid and Irish Global Village volunteers whose donations have helped transform the lives of the families that Habitat works alongside. The overall aim of the project is to improve the lives of OVC and their caregivers through the construction of adequate housing and water and sanitation services; the attainment of land tenure rights; the facilitation of livelihoods; and the attainment of increased knowledge and understanding of the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Notable support is received for our local program in Dublin from companies including MetLife, Workday, and Bank of America. Corporate partnerships can take the form of direct financial support of local projects or corporate volunteering onsite in Dublin.
Meet two Global Village volunteers
Technology consultants Aislinn Hayes and Rachel Bohan spent two weeks in the Philippines volunteering with Habitat’s disaster response program. They worked alongside families to help rebuild their homes and communities after Typhoon Haiyan, which struck in 2013.
“Habitat rallies teams of volunteers across the globe to help in areas of need. Their self-help model provides families and communities with a ‘hand-up’ to pull themselves out of poverty. Families invest hundreds of hours of their own time, ‘sweat equity’, building their homes and their communities. The vision is much more than bricks and mortar. It is about empowerment, opportunity and change for the benefit of an entire community for generations.”
“It was amazing to meet the families that had already moved into their homes. We got to hear their stories, what it was like in the aftermath of the typhoon, how they have tried to rebuild their lives, and their hopes for the future and the future of their children.”
“It was an amazing experience, and while the site in Bantayan is nearly finished, Habitat for Humanity has opportunities all around the world to volunteer. We highly recommend getting involved.”
What you can do
You can help families around the world improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of Habitat for Humanity Ireland’s scheduled Global Village trips. For more information go to: habitatireland.ie/volunteer-overseas
To learn more about Habitat Ireland and their work see the following: