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The impact of a healthy home

For most of us when we’re feeling sick, home is like our refuge. It serves as our sanctuary where we feel safe. When we’re ill it protects us from the elements so we can recuperate.
However, there are families whose homes are the complete opposite. There are many that do not offer the level of comfort or security that we all need.

One UK study recently demonstrated that poor living conditions increase the risk of severe illness or even disability by 25% during childhood and early adulthood.

Sadly, these families have no other choice.

This is the risk that these families face every day. Can you imagine how exposed they are during outbreaks of disease?

When the Avian flu swept through Quang Nam province of Vietnam in 2012 Diep and her family were one of the many who were affected. The family’s immediate livelihood depended on the sale of their hand-raised ducks – all killed by the Avian flu. This forced the family into debt and from there things only got worse for Diep and her family…

“Life was so tough for us then. Losing the ducks and being in debt wasn’t even the worst thing that happened to us. My two children were also infected by the avian flu and were

On top of this their house was falling apart. Water seeped through the roof and crumbled the walls and damaged the electrical wiring. They were in constant fear of being electrocuted. After her children fell ill their home was simply not a place to bring them back to health. It lacked basic facilities like a toilet and a kitchen, and the poor ventilation meant it was always hot and humid.

With their sudden debt and lack of income, Diep and her husband Xuyen were struggling to provide for their family and were in no position to build a home that would create long-lasting change for their children.

“The thought of owning a house never even crossed my mind…”

With the help of generous donors, Diep was one of 14 families in her province to receive a new home. They received a grant of about $2,600 to build a strong home that can withstand typhoons and floods. But most importantly they now have a home that will protect their children from the elements and minimise their risk of chronic illness.

Diep and Xuyen’s new home has two bedrooms so their children have enough space to study and play, as well as a permanent kitchen and toilet. The improved ventilation means it is also less humid and has a lower less risk of household air pollution.

Now that their home life is stable, Diep and Xuyen have both found jobs in a stone factory not far from where they live and Diep’s oldest son, Truong, will start studying at a local primary school this month.

When speaking to our Habitat colleagues, Diep carried her youngest son and couldn’t stop smiling when talking about her new home. “The children’s health is much better and they rarely get sick. I am so happy. Thank you!”

Diep is an example of how a safe, decent home can transform lives for the better. But the reality is there are so many more families who are vulnerable and constantly suffer
health problems because of their living conditions.

Will you make a gift today to build decent homes that significantly reduce life-threatening disease? Without your support, the cycle of poverty won’t stop and families in need will continue to suffer from illnesses that are preventable. Please give today.

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