The UN has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. This year it was observed on October 4th. This annual global commemoration is all about consciousness, about linking the right to a decent home to a healthy life.
In 20 years, an additional 3 billion people will need access to housing in cities across the world. The theme of World Habitat Day this year was “Better City, Better Life” to raise awareness about the future of our urban centers, and the need for collective action to ensure all have a place to live that is dignified and sustainable.
In honor of this year’s World Habitat Day, international, local and family volunteers, along with members of the staff and board of HFHA, participated in a Volunteer Brigade in the 22 de Enero settlement in La Matanza. It was a great opportunity for all involved to get to know one another better, especially for those who had not yet had a chance to visit the community.
The group was split into four teams, each working with a different family on their assigned task: leveling a house’s front yard to minimize flooding; filling a swampy trench along the street with dirt to prevent mosquito breeding (as carriers of dengue fever, mosquitoes are a major health hazard in Argentina during the summer months); cleaning and applying grout to a tile floor; and transporting construction materials for a homeowner who is transitioning from a house of tin and cardboard to one of cement in order to help solve his son’s respiratory problems.
There was a lot of dirt involved – and a lot of aching backs the next day! – but everyone was pleased with the progress made and the impact their efforts had on public and individual health.
It was also a wonderful chance to follow up with families who had recently worked with international brigades; already weeks later, they were still talking about how amazing the experience was!