SERIAN – On 26 May, the President of the Habitat for Humanity National Office Kuching, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Rose Au, and a volunteer from its Family Selection Committee gave an animated briefing in St Theresa’s Church Hall to about 30 leaders of outstation churches and interested individuals of Parish. This afternoon programme was an initiative by the Parish to create awareness of the help available to a particular segment of the poor.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian housing ministry that seeks to eradicate homelessness and poverty housing, living environments that are overcrowded and unsafe. This ministry which is based in the United States has presence in over 100 countries. It has constructed 150,000 houses, improving the lives of over 750,000 people. The Kuching ministry started in 1998 and has built 47 homes to date. They now target the construction of 17 new houses each year.
Rose explained that volunteers are organised by Habitat to provide labour for the building of the homes. However, material cost which typically is about RM 15,000 needs to be financed by the family receiving aid, in the form of interest free and manageable installments. Those who benefit from the scheme will need to also contribute ‘sweat equity’ – lending help in projects for other families who are selected. This is part of the ministry’s guiding Christian principle which they call ‘theology of the hammer’.
It is hoped the kampong leaders, having learnt of the presence of this ministry, will be able to bring help to those struggling with poverty housing in their own communities.
Fr Felix Au