The barrios of Un Techo para Todos and 22 de Enero in La Matanza, Buenos Aires were bustling the week of September 11, – September 16 , 2011 with the hard work of the 200 volunteers who joined HPHA in our “Semillas de Esperanza” (“Seeds of Hope”) weeklong construction event. Working day in and day out to construct three Seed Houses for three families living in precarious conditions, the participants included corporate volunteers from a wide range of national and international companies (including Ford, Mercedez Benz, Whirlpool, Bumeran, Banco de Nueva York and Credit Suisse), as well as individual volunteers interested in adequate housing and the work of HPHA.
The three families selected by HPHA for these Seed Houses are led by single mothers with difficult histories (domestic violence; widowing and handicapped children) raising multiple children (4+). Speaking with one of the mothers, Fabiana, she explained that building this house is very important to her as it will allow her to make a better life for her children. That feeling was also expressed by the other two mothers, Graciela and Miguelina.
For a number of different reasons, the families had been unable to build their homes alone. Now they have been integrated into the HPHA community through a special project called ABCD (Ahorro [Savings], Bono [Grant], Crédito [Loan], Desarrollo Humano y Comunitario [Community and Human Development]) to help them achieve adequate housing.
Besides the work, there was also time to get to know each other and have fun. It was a festive and enjoyable week. During lunch the families were invited to join the volunteers in team-building games and traditional Argentine food such as empanadas, pizzetas and choripán!
The volunteers pushed themselves to their physical limits to be able to make the daily goals set by the group of architects and brick layers/construction workers overseeing the build, something both the families and HPHA are very thankful for. Tremendous strides were taken during the week of construction, and we hope to finish the homes with the help of additional volunteer brigades by the end of the year.
We would like to give a special thanks to the volunteers from Arcelor Mittal that laid the foundation work for the houses in an event entitled “Solidarity Holidays” that took place the week of September 5-9, 2011. They were an international brigade with various countries being represented including Brazil, France and India. We hope they enjoyed their stay as much as we enjoyed hosting it.