Happy International Women’s Day!
At Habitat for Humanity Australia, we celebrate, empower and stand side by side with the wonderful women in the communities in which we work, with the teams of motivated volunteers and staff that contribute to our projects and of course, with our generous supporters.
Every day we work towards creating a more equal and equitable global society.
Across the world women are at a greater risk of considerable housing affordability stress and homelessness. In NSW alone, in 2019 it was reported by the National Housing Conference that there had been an 88% growth in women over 55 years accessing homelessness services over the previous three years. Unfortunately, this statistic remains high.
Both in Australia and globally this is a result of discrimination, exclusion from decision making processes, financial inequality, domestic violence, and unequal opportunity.
Habitat has been working hard to change this and here is how;
- Our Water for Women project in Fiji has strengthened community resilience and inclusion through improved WASH services.
We have just wrapped our 4.5 year-long Water for Women project in Fiji. The project was extremely successful in strengthening resilience and inclusion within the communities we worked in. Community members; including women, people with disabilities and people from the LGBTQI+ community were not just involved in the design of the project but were the drivers of the program. The project increased fair access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for 980 households with a population of 5021 people including 1140 children. Many became actively engaged in WASH technical roles, governance structures and management and behaviour change.
- Our Social Enterprise, Habitat Women is providing education and employment to women entering the construction industry.
Habitat Women provides access to education and employment to combat inequality and disadvantage for women in the construction industry. Currently women only make up 11% of the total industry workforce and less than 3% of trades! Habitat Women aims to change this. Our goal is to provide access to education and employment, both key factors for inequity and disadvantage, as well as to support specialist homelessness services and social housing. The 6-month program creates quality employment pathways; through training and paid work experience, for women entering the construction industry. We also partner with other not for profits to provide development and support with pre-employment skills such as teamwork, career path assistance and resume and interview preparation, before linking women to supportive employment opportunities. Head to the Habitat Women website to learn more.
- We’ve partnered with some great organisations to further the work of our female focused domestic programs.
In the past year we have partnered with organisations such as Wesley Mission who work to provide crises accommodation to families escaping domestic violence. New corporate partner Helia, a female-led organisation, has assisted us in delivering appropriate housing solutions for vulnerable groups, such as women and children escaping domestic violence, through financial contributions and employee volunteering. We have also partnered with The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation who support our social enterprise, Habitat Women.
- We have given female headed households a hand up into homeownership
In South Australia and Victoria, we continue to support low-income families, single mothers and those living in difficult housing situations; through our affiliate office’s home building program. We have recently had some great success stories such as Storm and her two young children and Celeste and her three children.
- Our International projects in Fiji, Vanuatu and The Solomon Islands help women be more involved in disaster resilience, from consultation to training.
We consistently work with communities here and overseas to ensure families are supported and empowered; through providing disaster resistant shelter as well as training and education programs. Our recent work in establishing Disaster Shelter Guides in Fiji, The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu; three of the world’s most at risk countries when it comes to Climate Change; placed a heavy focus on cultural considerations as well as consultation with vulnerable members of society; particularly women, the LGBTQI+ community and those living with disabilities.
6. Our Brush with Kindness and bushfire resilience programs continue to support vulnerable women across Australia.
Habitat Australia’s bushfire resilience program in the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands areas, has mobilised hundreds of volunteers, partners and donors to support the rehabilitation and future bushfire resilience of these communities. Our Brush with Kindness program, again alongside many generous volunteers, works to repair, refresh and maintain shelters for women and children escaping domestic violence, homeless youth, and others experiencing homelessness or in need of shelter. One of our recent projects ‘Peggy’s Place’ is a great example of this.
7. We are currently building a 9 bedroom domestic violence shelter in Sydney
In partnership with DV West, Habitat Australia is building a 9-bedroom domestic violence shelter in Sydney; the shelter will be able to house up to 20 women and children at a time and up to 100 women and children per year. Through the building of this shelter, we are able to increase current emergency accommodation as well as provide indigenous women and children somewhere safe to live to escape violence they may be facing at home.
8. Our International Programs focus on building strength, stability and resilience through shelter.
Habitat Australia partners with communities and organisations across the Asia Pacific to increase housing security, manage and improve disaster resilience and recovery, increase access to safe, clean water, sanitation and hygiene and provide urban programming and advocacy. Many of the households we work with are led by strong, female matriarchs who may not only be facing housing instability but also gender discrimination when it comes to access to secure housing or financial matters. Over the course of our work, we have empowered so many people including the family of Sabina and Tadiya in Nepal; who we assisted in upgrading their home to make it disability accessible and boost Sabina’s independence.
You can help us help communities and empower women globally by donating, supporting one of our many programs or volunteering your time with our Brush with Kindness, Bushfire Resilience or Global Village programs.