In early October, our colleague, Maggie Chin, visited Cambodia to learn about the progress of a home-building project there supported by a Singaporean donor. While on the trip, she shared with us a photograph of the old home one of the Habitat Homeowners used to live in (pictured above left). My heart sank. Even our bus stops in Singapore offered more protection from the heat and rain. This home was, in fact, a 2m by 2m shed without walls or a cement floor.
Seconds later, we received a second photograph. A sturdy home, painted bright white, stood proudly on stilts, complete with windows and a staircase with blue railings (pictured above right). This was the homeowner’s brand new Habitat home! This is the undeniable magic of Habitat. Ours is a community that tangibly raises the vulnerable out of poverty, releasing them into a hopeful future. Behind this, and every Habitat home around the world are cherished donors and volunteers who understand the power of shelter.
The work undertaken by Habitat For Humanity is admittedly expensive. Whether it is constructing a home in Thailand, channelling potable water to villagers in Indonesia or rehabilitating a rental flat in Singapore, the cost of materials and manpower needed to ensure a quality job, is substantial.
Despite these challenges, we continue to be blessed by generous individuals and organisations, who share their resources to ensure everyone can have a decent place to call home. We have been the grateful beneficiary of many fundraisers and donation-drive initiatives over the years. Some notable examples are Daiohs Singapore who sold umbrellas to drive home the importance of shelter, to Bar Bar Black Sheep who donate proceeds from bottled water sales, and even Jacques de Wet who raised funds by walking a gruelling 42.195 km barefoot in a Standard Chartered Marathon. Every dollar raised has been stretched to meet urgent needs on the ground.
As 2018 draws to a close, I can’t help but remember the multiple natural disasters which devastated communities in places like Indonesia, India, the Philippines and Japan. Sadly, with increased natural disasters and urban migration, the demand for housing in this region is growing at an accelerated rate. In this season of giving, may we continue to share of ourselves, our time and resources in a united fight against poverty, putting God’s perfect love into action one home at a time.