Catholic Church Partners with Homeplan to Alleviate Poverty in Southern Africa
Homeplan is a Dutch NGO that builds houses for the poorest of the poor. They have built houses in Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe. In South Africa they have had a five year partnership with the SACBC AIDS Office, and have built houses in Hlabisa, Swaziland, the Nkomazi District of Mpumalanga, Pomeroy (KZN) and Tzaneen.
In all these places, the neediest beneficiaries are identified by home based caregivers or orphan caregivers in the local Church program. Homeplan then builds them a solid, mortar-and-brick two room house, with a 10 000 litre rain water tank.
Twice a year, Homeplan brings its supporters to South Africa, for a “hands on” experience. They spend a week staying with a local family in local conditions, and help with the building of the new house during the day.
This year, a group of 10 Homeplan members came to Pomeroy (Diocese of Dundee, KZN), where they spent the week of 1 – 5 October. They were divided into five groups of two – staying with a local family for the week, and helping to build five new houses. This visit was special – in Pomeroy, Homeplan has already built more than 130 houses.
Globally Homeplan have now built 4 000 houses. During this trip to Pomeroy, house number 4 000 was handed over to the new owner. The recipient of house number 4 000 is a young orphan woman, who looks after her two siblings, with no source of income.
The entire visit was a success. The Dutch visitors were deeply moved by the poverty they experienced. The recipients of the new houses were overjoyed. One woman repeatedly said: “Only God knows how happy I am”.
On the last day of the visit, the group met at the Catholic Church, where Bishop Graham Rose celebrated Mass. Providentially, it happened to be on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi – the Saint who, more than any other, is seen as having had a special concern for the poor.
For more information contact: Johan Viljoen, in the SACBC Office, Cotacts: 012 323 6458