Brian Inkster and Nicola Walls joined a two-week challenge (14th to 28th November 2009) to help Argentinian families out of the shocking poverty in which they live. Working together with the local community, Brian and Nicola assisted in building homes using local materials and building techniques. They worked directly with the beneficiary homepartner families and supported them in their effort to build a better future.
In December 2001, Argentina suffered an economic collapse that left 50 percent of the population below the poverty line. Currently, one third of the population lives in inadequate housing conditions – about 3,500,000 homes. Over 16 percent are living in damaged houses that must be completely replaced. Half of the housing problems could be solved by refurbishing or finishing the houses. However, more than 30 percent need a new house in order to live decently.
Habitat for Humanity Argentina puts a great emphasis on transformation in its work. This means the charity works with the partner families before, during and after the specific construction activities with different workshops such as financial and legal literacy. This helps to make the most of the new opportunities a house can provide, transforming their ability to help them truly escape the poverty cycle.
For the homepartner families, the fact that volunteers come from so far away provides a tremendous motivation. The cultural exchange is extremely important for the programme, families and Habitat staff. Part of the experience is to give both a great building experience but also an understanding of the impact of poverty housing.