Usi and her 11-year-old daughter live in the temporary settlement in Bitung, Indonesia. Usi’s home is extremely small. There are just two rooms – one shared by Usi and her daughter, the other by Usi’s parents. It’s cramped, crowded and noisy, which makes it difficult for her daughter to study.
Usi’s home is constructed from pieces of plywood and corrugated iron, which have simply been nailed together. During the rainy season, water leaks into the home, making it cold and damp. But in the dry season, the home is unbearably hot.
There’s no toilet, so Usi and her family have to share a dangerous and unhygienic latrine with three other families. There’s no water – just a communal collection point that only works for two hours a day. Usi has to waste hours every week collecting water, and the family often have to wash their clothes and bathe in a polluted river which is over two kilometres away.
Within the temporary settlement people are coming down with respiratory diseases like asthma due to poor ventilation. The lack of sanitation means diarrhoea and typhoid are rife. And because one in three inhabitants are children who are more vulnerable to these life-threatening conditions, many of them are forced to miss school due to illness.
It was almost certainly as a result of living in conditions like these that Usi’s husband fell ill and passed away a number of years ago, leaving her to bring up their daughter alone. In fact, the situation became so desperate that she was even forced to place one of her children with her grandmother in another town because she simply couldn’t afford to provide for both of them.
Usi partnered with Habitat for Humanity and now lives in her new home in Bitung. Through Habitat, Usi participated in livelihoods training to learn new skills that she can use to earn an income. Usi also received financial training, which means that she can plan ahead for her family.
“Having a new home means my daughter has a place to study and the whole family has a safe, healthy place to live. We have a place to call our own.”