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Jul 26, 2002

Habitat for Humanity holds fundraiser

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For several years, the efforts of Habitat for Humanity have been helping low-income Belizeans build their own affordable homes. By all accounts the program is a good idea, but for one reason or another, Habitat has yet to become a household word in Belize.

Yvonne Bowen, Habitat Homeowner

“When you work on your own home, it make you feel a difference cause you know dah fu you, and go out there and you watch how everything the go up.”

Lucien Dawson, Habitat Volunteer

“I think Habitat for Humanity is just not a house, I mean four walls and a roof, it’s to help the people out here to make them get on a strong emotional basis out here, cause out here is lot of problems.”

Yvonne Bowen

“No have nothing fu do at home so you give your time freely to somebody else, cause somebody else did it for me.”

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

Those are the kinds of feelings the co-ordinators of the Habitat for Humanity programme want to develop in Belizeans. Right now, there are six such homes being constructed in Belize City, but according to Habitat’s Carla Sainsbury, too many people interested in the program shrug off their homeowner responsibilities.

Carla Sainsbury, Nat’l partner, Habitat Belize

“The sweat equity thing is a thing that people don’t embrace. They figure that they should just build the house and let them live in it and they pay the mortgage. But Habitat wants to build lives, it wants to change lives and if people know that if they work on their house, they will appreciate it even more. So it’s building something in them, some self esteem in them. So they can say, I can do this and I have done that and I know that I can enjoy my home because I put time into it.”

Sainsbury says another reason why the program has not been able to build a following in Belize City is the lack of titles for land.

Carla Sainsbury

“Sometimes people have a lease fiat, I mean a lease approval and they feel, oh, I have a piece of land, but that’s not so. You have to have a lease fiat so there are several issues that we face. Money is not the problem with Habitat, we always have the money to buy materials, so that’s not an issue.”

While money isn’t necessarily an issue, Habitat for Humanity Belize is still asking for donations. On Saturday, the program is hosting an awareness day at Battlefield Park in an effort to raise twenty-two thousand dollars, the cost of a two-bedroom home.

Carla Sainsbury

“Like for this next physical year which we are already in from July first to June next year we’re planning to do eleven to thirteen houses alright and that will make a difference in the lives of thirteen people.”

“We implore the public to, even if it is even a dollar, a dollar twenty-five can buy a cement block so I encourage you to come out. It starts from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the evening.”

Reporting for News 5, I am Janelle Chanona.

Saturday’s Habitat for Humanity awareness day at Battlefield Park will include a bake sale, yard sale, turkey dinner, radiothon and a wide variety of entertainment.

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