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Mar 29, 2017

New House for 2016 Fire Victim

Belize Electricity Limited and Hand in Hand Ministries partnered to build a house for a deserving family in Belize City.  Shirley Flowers, a single mother off Boots Crescent in south side lost her house to a fire in January 2016 and since then she’s been working with Hand in Hand to get a house constructed as part of their Building for Change program. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Since the program started in October of 2002, over three hundred seventeen families have received houses through the Building for Change Program of the Hand in Hand Ministries.  Today, a family off Boots Crescent in Port Loyola, Belize City was the lucky recipient of an elevated wooden house, with plumbing and electrical service access installed.


Bernard Panton

Bernard Panton, Director, Building for Change Program, Hand in Hand Ministries

“Shirley came to our doors and wanted a house; we have certain procedures that we do and we have certain criteria. So once they apply and they fit the criteria, we have a selection committee that looks at that information and also does a second interview at the home where they live. And then we take about two weeks to discuss and assess and once the selection committee decides that yes we will build for that person, they are given a letter of acceptance and advised that they could come in and start the process of building.”


For three days, the team at Hand in Hand Ministries as well as employees of B.E.L. came out to assist with building the house. And after some final touches earlier this week, including painting and cleaning up, the family was hand the keys to their new home. B.E.L.’s Senior PR Officer Sheena Garnett says the project is valued at about seventeen thousand dollars.


Sheena Garnett, Senior Public Relations Officer, B.E.L.

“The approximate contribution from B.E.L. is roughly over seventeen thousand dollars; that includes the payment for materials, electrical services and plumbing for the house as well as the installation of the service entrance.”


Sheena Garnett


“I’m guessing this is not the first contribution that you’ve made to families within the district or the city?”


Sheena Garnett

“No, not necessarily. B.E.L. as a company is committed to giving back so supporting and partnering with Hand in Hand Ministries for initiatives such as the Building for Change program is directly in line with our mission, which is to improve the quality of life in Belize. So when hand in hand reached out to us and submitted the candidates, we were more than happy to jump on board and partner with them to assist a deserving family.”


Back on the night of January eighth 2016, a fire swept through a mobile home on Boots Crescent, leaving fifteen family members including Shirley Flowers and her four kids homeless. It’s been just over a year and Flowers says the struggles are real. The two-bedroom house is now home for the family of six.


Shirley Flowers

Shirley Flowers, New Homeowner

“I feel great and happy because I am not in my sister’s house no more sleeping on any floor and I am proud of my house now.”


Duane Moody

How many of you will be living in the house?”


Shirley Flowers

“Well six—me, my four kids and my mother.”


Duane Moody

“How hard was it in terms of recovering from the fire?”


Shirley Flowers

“Well it mi kinda steep and rough because then my salary that I mek was ninety-eight dollars every week and I worked every three days. So I couldn’t provide much for them, but I am a struggling mother and what helped me is because they put me in pantry and twelve dollars for the pantry and it comes with supplies that you need to cook on stove and so. So I really appreciate what they put me in.”


This is the fifth house that B.E.L. has partnered with Hand in Hand Ministries to construct for beneficiaries of the program. And they have since committed to a three-year partnership effective this year.


Bernard Panton

“Each person that partners with hand in hand is assisting those in need. If hand in hand doesn’t have a partner, Hand in Hand doesn’t build because Hand in Hand is a nonprofit organization. So our funding comes from people who look at our programs, who like our programs and who decide to take part in our programs. So I am happy for that.”


Sheena Garnett

“The company committed to assisting Hand in Hand Ministries with the construction of houses for over the next three years, starting this year 2017 through to 2019. So we have committed to build one house per year under the Building for Change program and assist with the installation of the service entrance.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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