Subsidized Housing for the Vulnerable in Zambia
CHRISTINA Mwale, 60, lives with her eight dependents in a two-room mud house in Linda Township. The house is on the verge of collapse.
The only thing preventing the roof of the house from being blown off are the rocks and heavy objects placed on the roof. Christina worries about the welfare of her grandchildren especially during a heavy downpour.
“The walls of the house are cracked and we have placed rocks to hold down the roof otherwise it will be blown away.
During the rains, I have to stay awake most of the night for fear of a calamity in case the roof is blown off or the house collapses due to the cracks on the walls,” she said.
Christina, a vendor who sells vegetables and fruits as a livelihood, said her house is littered with pots and buckets during the rains to prevent the house from flooding due to the numerous holes and cracks on the roofs.
“To avoid rain water in my house, I place containers in around the house so that water does not flood the house.
Some years ago I sold part of my land hoping to raise enough funds to make renovations to the house and send the children to school. But the money run out and I and my eight grandchildren continued in this two-room mud house,” she said.
Fortunately for Christine her story will soon change because as part of commemorating World Aids Day and International Volunteer Day, Bank of Zambia and Habitat for Humanity Zambia staff volunteered their time to construct a house for her.
The house was constructed under Habitat for Humanity Zambia’s Pamwesu programme.
The Pamwesu Programme provides fully-subsidised three-room houses for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), their caregivers and vulnerable women.
The aim of the programme is to end the cycle of poverty in these households. Apart from building a house Habitat Zambia provides these households with training on OVC care, HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, house maintenance and succession planning including will writing.
Speaking during the build, Habitat for Humanity Zambia’s fundraising officer, Paul Chishimba said multiple studies show that housing significantly reduces the incidence of HIV infection and improves the efficacy of treatment.
“The reason we chose to build houses is to highlight the important role decent shelter plays in the response to HIV/AIDS and why we will struggle as a country to get to Zero infection rates by the target of 2030 if we do not resolve our current housing deficit,” he said.
Mr Chishimba said the organisation also wanted to highlight the role individuals, by volunteering, play in significantly improving the lives of those less-privileged than they are.
“We hope this home will allow Christina’s family ‘get to Zero’, improve their lifestyle and, most importantly, let Christina’s story inspire more people to volunteer,” he said.
Mr Chishimba said Habitat for humanity Zambia is a part of Habitat for Humanity International, a worldwide non-profit focused on eliminating housing poverty by providing simple, decent houses for families in need.
He said his organisation has constructed, rehabilitated or repaired 3,000 houses, helping over 20,000 individuals in four of Zambia’s provinces including Lusaka, Central, Copperbelt and Western provinces.
Mr Chishimba said Habitat Zambia plans on providing shelter to 1,000 families by the end 2018.
And Bank of Zambia’s human resource director, Roselyn Scott said last year the bank also made a contribution to the noble cause by giving Habitat Zambia a grant.
“What we have from the housing programme is the number of young children in these homes who are bound to be exposed to abuse of some sort. But by giving them a home, we are providing these children not only with a home but a place they can feel safe,” she said.
Over the last two years, Bank of Zambia has funded the construction of four Habitat for Humanity Zambia homes in Ndola and Lusaka. The recent being a house the staff at the bank in Ndola volunteered to build for a family in Chipulukusu.
“As an Individual, I often forget that there are people less fortunate than I am. By volunteering today we are making a conscious decision to make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said.
ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY MIKE MWENDA,FEATURED IN ZAMBIAN DAILY MAIL.