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Ponijah's story

Over one week, 130 volunteers worked alongside families in need to help them build safe and decent housing as part of our Rock the House campaign in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

On arriving in Indonesia, we met Ponijah. Ponijah is roughly 70 years old – she’s not entirely sure of her exact age. She is a widow and lives alone, although her son and his family live closeby.

Ponjiah moved into her new Habitat-built home two weeks prior to our Rock the House volunteers arriving. She proudly welcomed us into her home and told us how thankful and relieved she was to finally have a safe and dry place to call her own. She showed us where she sleeps, where she makes tea and does this dishes – Habitat CEO, Martin Thomas even lent a hand washing up!

Ponijah told us her old home was built by her father and she had lived there her entire life. Although she had very fond memories in her home, it was in a state of disrepair. The floor was dirt packed, the walls were rotting, and she had no toilet. The roof would also leak when it rained and she had to place buckets on the floor to catch the water. At over 70 years old, Ponijah was continually having to maintain her home and the stress was taking it’s toll on her.

However, with a new home Ponijah finally has a decent, safe and dry where she can rest and enjoy time with her family and neighbours. She also has access to water and a toilet.

Ponijah’s son is also going to help her made additions to her kitchen so she can make tempeh, an Indonesian soy product she sells to her neighbours and a local shop.

Ponijah is happy in her home and told us it will make her life a great deal easier in her old age. During our visit to Ponijah’s home, we noticed she was sleeping on a mat on the floor in her new bedroom. Ponijah told us the boards of the wooden bed she had slept in for many years had recently broken. Unable to make the repairs herself, she resorted to sleeping on the floor.

Habitat quickly brought in some construction workers who were helping build some of the 12 new homes our volunteers were working on, and repaired Ponijah’s bed so she could have a comfortable place to rest.

Ponijah also attended our farewell lunch in the community, along with our other 12 partner families, and spoke to our volunteers about the difference a safe and decent home has made in her life.

Ponijah’s home before

House 3.8

Ponijah’s home after


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