On the eve of National Volunteer Week (11-17 May 2015), Habitat for Humanity has warned that Australians volunteering overseas should be extremely careful not to contribute to ‘bogus’ charities that actually exploit the children they are trying to help.
Local volunteers mobilised by Habitat for Humanity have begun to safely remove rubble in communities in Lalitpur district, Nepal after a series of earthquakes caused widespread destruction across the country.
Latest reports from Nepal sadly confirm more than 7,000 deaths and over 16,000 people injured. Some 288,000 houses have been confirmed destroyed and another 254,000 damaged during the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Unfortunately these numbers are expected to grow as the full extent of the damage becomes better known.
In Nepal, we are working with 250 female headed households and other vulnerable households to improve living conditions and empower their communities.
Livelihood training plays an important role in our work overseas. It provides participants with valuable skills they can use to earn an income, and which they can share with others.
TV personalities Adam and Lisa, are generously supporting our work and last November travelled with a team of Australian volunteers to build safe, secure homes in Chitwan Nepal for families living in a slum. 36 houses were constructed in total, with almost 500 volunteers from ten countries donating their time, labour and support.
Man Maya is 45 years old and lives in Sunsari, Nepal. She has two sons, aged 16 and 14 and one daughter, aged 18. Maya was left widowed a few years ago and with little skills and almost no education she was left almost destitute.
The plight of those struggling to afford rental accommodation is leading to ever greater demand for social housing. Alternative financing arrangements such as group collateral, used in some of the poorest countries in our region, may be something we can learn from.
Thirty-five year old Sakuntala lives with her son Prajwol, aged 4. Her husband left her after just five months of marriage and has not returned since. Her neighbours supported her during her pregnancy and delivery in the absence of her husband.
When Sarada was 19 she married a local carpenter. It was a happy union and Sarada and her husband had three daughters. Sadly, three years ago Sarada’s husband got blood poisoning from an accident at work. After a long battle with illness, he passed away.