Celebrating World Habitat Day
Next Monday, October 3rd, is World Habitat Day. More than 30 years ago, the United Nations declared this day a time to promote Habitat’s vision that everyone deserves a decent place to live. While the overwhelming majority of our work at Milwaukee Habitat is done right here at home, since our founding we’ve partnered with affiliates across the globe to help further that vision.
10% of our unrestricted funds – or “tithe” – are put to work in countries with severe housing needs. We currently partner with Habitat affiliates in Zambia and El Salvador, sending funds and – prior to the pandemic – volunteers to help families in need. On our last trip in 2019, volunteers and staff traveled to Zambia to help families like Mary Zulu build a safe, stable place to call home.
Mary Zulu is a 67-year-old widow who lives in Makululu (a township within Kabew, Zambia) with 4 dependents: Fanny Phiri 22, Mary Phiri 15, William Phiri 18 and Diana Zulu 13.
Before relocating to the new settlement in Makululu, Mary stayed in a dilapidated two-roomed mud house with her three children. The roof leaked during the rainy season. She made a monthly income of approximately K40 ($3) per month.
In the picture above from 2019, Milwaukee Habitat volunteers worked to mix the mortar and lay the concrete block of Mary’s home.
Mary’s life and that of her family have now transformed. She has managed to take her 22- year-old daughter to college where she is studying to become a secondary school teacher after obtaining a 75% scholarship from the Government of Zambia. Her granddaughter, Mary, is now in the 11th grade while Diana is in 6th grade and William periodically runs a small food business.
“I now run a business of selling maize, soy beans and beans from which I make an average income of K 600 ($40) per month that I use for our daily needs as a family,” Mary said.
Mary joined Trust Savings Group supported by Habitat for Humanity Zambia in 2019 and has borrowed money from the group to boost her business and support her daughter who is at college.
“The savings group has been instrumental in assisting me raise money for my daughter who is in college, boost my business and attend to other basic needs at home,” she said.
“I am thankful to Habitat for Humanity Zambia and its partners for the house they built for me and my family. I now have a free mind knowing that I have food to eat, my children are in school and I have a safe place to live with my children,” she said.