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The Citibank Crew celebrate another successful National Day of Caring with Habitat for Humanity. Photo by Vesh J Photography

For the third year in a row, Citibank opted to participate in the United Way National Day of Caring through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity.  Our selected projects give the bank management and staff an opportunity to work closely with our Homeowner families in their own community, and 2017 was no exception.

 

Habitat volunteers and staff deliver the completed cabinet to a Homeowner in Cashew Gardens. Photo by Habitat Trinidad-Tobago

Dozens of volunteers laboured enthusiastically throughout the day to build food storage cabinets for our Homeowners in Cashew Gardens.

Others had lots of fun helping the younger residents of the area to visualize their dreams for the future.

“Some day, I want to design buildings that will help to inspire great work from the people who work in them!” Photo by Habitat Trinid-Tobago

“I can do ANYTHING!” declared the kids of Cashew Gardens. Photo by LRS Productions 

 

The bank also packaged generous hampers of groceries, and one anonymous donor even sent out special “Mother’s Day” gifts of handbags and cosmetics as a special surprise for all the hardworking Mums!

You can browse through lots more photos on our Facebok Page, using the hashtag #ndoc2017

 

 

The Land Book of Trinidad and Tobago (https://landportal.info/book/countries/TTO)

Based in the Netherlands, the Land Portal is the leading online destination for information, resources, innovations and networking on land issues.  The goal of the portal is to assist governments and civil society in improving land governance and securing land rights for landless and vulnerable people. The Portal allows for the collection, sourcing, and searching of otherwise fragmented and inaccessible data and information on land governance and land use from diverse sources, produced by governments, academia, international organizations, indigenous peoples and NGOs. Besides documenting land rights, the Portal also encourages social information exchange, debate and networking.

The Country Portfolios – also called the Land Book (https://landportal.info/book/countries/) – provides a single location to access land-related information by country. Take a look at the editorialised narrative section in the featured country portfolios or just select a country from the map or the list: everything you need to know about land issues in a specific country is just one click away.

Atlantic started their journey with Habitat in 2009 with the desire to not just build houses, but also to invest in developing communities. This allowed Habitat to think outside the box on how we serve. With an investment of TT$10 million dollars, Atlantic has supported the repair, renovation and construction of houses, built the Guapo Beach Facility, and championed corporate community intervention in Trinidad and Tobago. Under the distinguished leadership of Mr Nigel Darlow, Mr. Gordon Dean, Mr Oscar Prieto, and other team members of Atlantic a wide variety of projects came to fruition.

Together with community leaders in Southern Gardens, a Village council was constituted, Habitat advocated on land matters for the community, and Atlantic supported Habitat’s request to the Point Fortin Borough for improved social and environmental services such as garbage collection and postal services for this community. Additionally, Atlantic’s direct funding built a bus shed, erected a community notice board, and sponsored a children’s camp, swimming classes, food production and landscaping training for residents.

This Spirit of Humanity award to a pioneer in Corporate Social Responsibility, was received by Terrence Walker, Advisor to Mr. Nigel Darlow, CEO of Atlantic.

Photo Gallery: Atlantic Interns paint with Arnette

 

BPTT is one of our earliest donors as they started in 1999 with contributions towards new houses. Habitat also benefited from the donation of a parcel of land during the tenure of the previous Chairman, Robert Riley. In 2011, BPTT commenced a new housing and community development initiative with Habitat in Mayaro.  BPTT’s Norman Christie was especially proud of this collaborative effort, saying on that occasion, “Just as a foundation is essential for each of the houses that will be built; so too are we building a foundation for growth through this partnership with Habitat. Persons might say that we pay enough in taxes and to just go about our business, but we at BPTT see our business as positively impacting the lives of every single person in this country. When we find organisations like Habitat that share our energy and vision, we are happy to collaborate with them.”

BPTT staff comes out to volunteer 1-2 times a year, led by Mr Christie, and they stay very involved with their families during and after construction, signalling a truly caring company.

Ms. Ronda Francis, Manager Corporate Responsibility, Communications and External Events, and the first National Coordinator of Habitat accepted the award on behalf of BPTT.

Photo Gallery: BPTT with the Raymond Family

The partnership with the National Gas Company is one that has engaged hearts, minds and pockets! The NGC staff have worked with our homeowners on new houses, donated to help repair homes and renovated one orphanage dormitory in southern Trinidad. The employees are highly engaged with their families, coming out as a team of volunteers to paint, lending their skills and training to assist contractors with carpentry and plumbing, and staying in touch with the families after the project is complete, often bringing them appliances and furnishings, or just checking up on them to make sure that they are well. Individual departments within the energy company have even raised funds separate and apart from the company’s contributions to fund ‘extras’ for families, such as tiles and ceiling. House dedication ceremonies are often big events attended by NGC’s President an senior managment.

In 2016, NGC was challenged by Ronald Harford, our Capital Campaign Chairman, to match the Republic Bank multi-million dollar, multi-year Covenant – and we are thrilled to say that they pledged $1M TT Dollars for 3 years to support Habitat’s work! It’s large, multi-year donations like this that sustain our organisation in these uncertain times.

Mark Loquan, NGC President, received our Spirit of Humanity Award for the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo Gallery: Homeowners celebrate Christmas with NGC

Carolyn and Omesh in their new home

In 2011 Republic Bank contacted Habitat to enquire how Habitat would be able to provide good stewardship of a proposed One Million TT Dollar donation to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. That began the start of a wonderful relationship with this strategic partner – they became one of our major donors through our Capital Campaign, signing a Covenant agreement of One Million Dollars a year for five years! This contribution has helped Habitat homeowners to build, repair, renovate and complete homes throughout the country, and provided much needed training in basic construction skills, financial literacy and disaster mitigation.

Upper management and staff work side-by-side with Habitat families on construction and painting projects at least once a year, and this the company’s employees give even more with quarterly ‘de-cluttering drives’ to collect gently-used household items to donate to Habitat for families. RBL sponsored our very first house in Tobago, and continues to support other repair projects in the sister isle and our current landslide mitigation project in Moriah.

Mrs. Anna-Maria Garcia-Brooks, General Manager Group Human Resources accepted the Spirit of Humanity award on behalf of Republic Bank Limited.

Mr. Sieunarine Coosal joined the Advisory Board in 2006 and then transitioned to the Capital Campaign Cabinet. Along with Ronald Harford, Dominic Hadeed and Gregory Aboud, he is one of the four influential corporate leaders seen in the Habitat Endorsement Videos aired on CCN TV6 to highlight our work in the national community.

During a 2010 meeting to discuss in-kind donations of building material he realised that the National Director and her staff were taking public transportation to visit homeowners, conduct technical visits and attend meetings throughout the islands.  His reaction was swift and unequivocal – “If you are giving, you should only give your best! I am going to donate a Pickup to Habitat and pay the insurance on it for one year!”

His generous gift immediately increased operational efficiency and reduced transportation costs for our builds. We have also benefited  tremendously from over $1.5 million TT Dollars in blocks, gravel, fill and other construction inputs from Coosal’s. Additional support has come from providing space in his office facilities for Habitat workshops, meetings and  trainings throughout the years.

Since 2008, TECU has been a great support to Habitat Trinidad and Tobago. Our relationship began as a straightforward financial contribution from their annual Charity Dispensation, but it has evolved over the years into a valued strategic alliance, partnering with us and our homeowners to build strong and stable communities.

In addition to supporting all of our fundraising events, the staff of TECU does a Volunteer Build every year, and the company itself has also contributed significantly to our disaster relief efforts for Haiti.

Mr. Brian Tangwell, General Manager of TECU and former Resource Development Coordinator at Habitat, accepted the award on behalf of TECU.

In 2012, Professor Matthew Kenney of Austin Peay State University from Tennessee led his first team of students to Trinidad, a relatively large group of 22 young people eager to experience a different culture while giving back. This is a mandatory requirement for the “President’s Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program”, which helps prepare students at APSU for a lifetime of leadership.

The visits have continued every year since, and so far we have hosted 156 international students and tutors volunteering on sites in Trinidad and Tobago.  This complement to our Global Village programme allows for international volunteers working 5 days on a construction site, paying their own flight, room and board, and making a financial donation to the programme.

Teams from Austin Peay have contributed more than 85,000 US Dollars to Habitat Trinidad and Tobago over the years. The latest group completed their second trip to Trinidad in March 2017, where they worked on a Landslide Mitigation Retaining Wall Project in Moriah, Tobago. Previous groups have conducted community seminars on empowerment for women, worked with pre-schoolers at an Early Childhood Care and Education Centre and participated in workshops with the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross SOciety and the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine.

Photo Gallery: Working with Mark in Cashew Gardens

509th House with Damani in La Romaine

In Barataria with Alistair

 

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