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What inspired us, even in the rough times? Our children and our dreams for giving them a great life!

 

We live in Rio Claro in south Trinidad, and we heard about Habitat at a community meeting about 14 years ago.  We have two children now – our daughter was just five at the time we applied, now 19 and our “lagniappe” our son, who is 13 years old now.  We loved the fact that it provides affordable housing.  The banking system didn’t really work for us as a young family now starting out, but the Habitat formula gave us a chance to stand on our feet and get away from renting.

We broke ground and built in 3 months, within budget, and I am not a contractor by trade.  I am handy with my hands, and I was able to find ways to make the process work.  I made an arrangement to act as the site supervisor for my home, eliminating the technical charges and committing to managing the construction budget myself.  That way, our overall costs came down and I was able to put my sweat equity hours to good use, managing the construction of my home and learning useful skills at the same time.

When the Global Village (foreign volunteer) teams came to Trinidad, I would use three or four persons on my project, freeing up the rest of the group to focus on other Habitat homes in the Rio Claro area.  I had a great experience working with the foreign teams; they work very, VERY hard, so I took full advantage of the blessing.

We had some rough times over the years, but we committed to paying off.  Habitat was very understanding, and this made it easier in a way to meet our obligations to Habitat.  Nayla especially pushed that we always pay, because we knew that the money was going to help other families to see their way.

Don’t listen to the second-hand news on the block; take the time to come to Habitat, and take the time to understand exactly what Habitat does, and how YOUR effort is multiplied by working within the Habitat process.

A home is safety, and security, but more than that, it’s the love!

 

 

From the Fuller Center for Housing, we feature a letter written by Habitat Founder and former Chairman Millard Fuller, explaining the thinking behind the “theology of the hammer”. To download the original document, please click here.

May 2008

I am often asked about the “theology of the hammer” and the “economics of Jesus.” Where did these terms come from?

The genesis was back in 1965 when I first met Clarence Jordan, the founder of Koinonia Farm. He quickly became my spiritual mentor. Clarence had the most profound insights into the Bible of any person I had ever known, or have known since. And, it is from the
Bible that all the concepts came for both the “theology of the hammer” and the “economics of Jesus.”

 

I have worked on these concepts since I first met Clarence Jordan in 1965 and especially since the first house was built at Koinonia in 1969 as part of the Partnership Housing program there (the forerunner of Habitat for Humanity and The Fuller Center for Housing). I talked extensively about both the “theology of the hammer” and the “economics of Jesus” in a lecture series at the Chautauqua Institute in 1987. I articulated in detail the timeless ideas and concepts at that time, all which are deeply rooted in God’s word. And, all of which are so relevant and incredibly important in today’s world, and are central to our work.

 

Simply stated, the “theology of the hammer” is the understanding that our Christian faith mandates that we do more than just talk about faith and sing about love. We must put faith and love into action to make them real, to make them come alive for people. Faith must be incarnated; that is to say, it must become more than a verbal proclamation or an intellectual assent. True faith must be acted out.

 

The Theology of The Hammer means that we work hard until a house for a needy family is built or renovated. It means continuing to love and having concern that is shown to the family to ensure success as a new homeowner.

 

This theology is also about bringing a wide diversity of people, churches, schools, businesses and other organizations together to build and renovate houses and establish viable, dynamic communities. It acknowledges that our political, philosophical and theological differences exist, but we can all find common ground using the hammer as an instrument of God’s Love.

 

The biblical economic lessons that we call “The Economics of Jesus” teach us that we can all agree on the following:

1. Building and renovating simple decent, affordable houses with and for people in need is right and central to proclaiming God’s love.
2. Utilizing principles that are found deeply rooted in many religious traditions of the world:

  • Not making a profit off the poor
  • Not charging interest to the poor (Exodus 22:25)
  • Taking what limited resources are available, asking God to bless them, then going to work, proceeding with the knowledge that God’s love extends to everyone, with a preferential concern for the poor, the broken and the stranger.
  • The opportunity for service and divestment of wealth is a blessing to people in need and to the giver.

Since I first published The Theology of The Hammer in 1994, an increased awareness of our responsibilities to the planet, the rapidly increasing costs of energy and changes to the climate have made it even more important to promote the use of appropriate technology
when building and renovating houses. The plight of the creation which God loves so much requires us to change our thinking and acting!

 

We encourage thinking and acting “green.” We promote the use of environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient building methods when building and renovating houses. We want our homeowners to benefit from energy-efficiency strategies that will lower the need for fossil fuel consumption and help save on energy bills, and we want to build in ways that are respectful of the earth and its resources.

 

Both the “theology of the hammer” and “economics of Jesus” call for action! So, it is time to get moving. Start your first project. Get a lot and build a new house or renovate a house for someone who desperately needs your help. Tell them God loves them and so do you.

 

In joyous Christian partnership and friendship,
Millard Fuller

 

Supported by a 21-member team with diverse skills, backgrounds and experiences, we give thanks for the many blessings we have received in the last 20 years of providing Service and building Strength, Stability and Self-reliance through Shelter.  We also pay tribute to our volunteers, the life-blood of the nonprofit world – whether in advocacy, community outreach, global village and local construction, or resource development and event management, we drew on the talents and enthusiastic teamwork of hundreds of local, regional and international supporters, every helping hand contributing to building more than 500 shelters since 1997.

 

In Trinidad and Tobago, one in 5 families struggles daily to meet the costs of health care, adequate nutrition and affordable housing.  If we are to really make an impact in this area, every one of us must begin to speak out and act on shelter issues at the global and national level. Why? Simply because a decent and affordable place to live remains a basic human right, and everyone can do something today to help make this a possibility for Trinbagonian families.

 

The need for decent housing has a direct link to the quality of life that is enjoyed by each individual, and to a great extent determines the values upon which each community is built.  The improvement of each of these communities is a prerequisite for the full satisfaction of basic needs, such as employment, health services, education, recreation and even more pressing in our context, the general security of our neighbourhoods. Safe shelter means new homes, smaller home improvements, and security of tenure.  This speaks directly to the security of living safely in one’s home – free of fear from evictions, unsafe structures, leaking roofs, and unsanitary plumbing to name a few of the ills that plague those living in need.

 

Every home improvement, every donation, every voice, every dollar, every volunteer hour, positions a family to help themselves, and provides a ‘hand-up’ experience. With contributions from you, our ardent supporters, we know that together, we can, and will, build a brighter future – for another child, another family, another community, until all are served with simple, decent, affordable shelter opportunities.

#smallchangeBIGDIFFERENCE

Trinidad & Tobago 1-cent coins will be withdrawn from circulation soon!  Why not send us your coin collection, and let your small change make a big difference in the lives of homeowners throughout our country?

We have buckets that can be used for small outlets, but individuals may opt to bring in whatever bags and boxes they have on hand to our offices or their company’s HR/Marketing/CSR departments, and we will make arrangements to handover the coins.

To learn more, please contactus@habitat-tt.org or 702-4663

 

 

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 and check out the first video by our volunteer videographer Oyatayo Raymond Ojaode  below:

Promoting Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago for their work in helping to Transform Lives.

Posted by Oyetayo Raymond Ojoade on Sunday, May 21, 2017

 

 

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

Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to live. Help us!

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