I am a teacher, and with some staff members volunteered at a build very close to my place of work. Today I am still able to see the families enjoy the homes built for them. I always wanted to be able to be more active in community service, and am passionate about helping in providing this basic need.
Housing is a major concern of poor Portuguese families, who often live in dilapidated homes in rural areas or shacks in the big cities. Successive governments have liberalized key areas of the economy over the past 20 years after decades of military dictatorship, but economic growth has been slowing since 2001. The recent financial crisis left many people without jobs or savings to improve housing conditions.
At the same time, the need for housing is growing, especially in urban areas. The state cannot support the development of new social housing units. And Portugal has been a destination for emigrants since the late 1970s, when people from former African colonies and Brazil began arriving. More recently, in the 1990s, emigrants from the Soviet Union found refuge there.
Habitat for Humanity helps low-income families in Portugal by building new homes on family-owned land and by renovating houses in the towns of Braga and Amarante. Homes are made of traditional local materials: bricks, red roof tiles, shutters on the windows, and ceramic tiles inside. Recently, the Habitat Portugal has been looking for local opportunities to raise funds to build more simple and decent homes.
Global Village is Habitat for Humanity’s international volunteer program. Teams travel to over 40 countries to work alongside communities, build housing solutions, and experience local culture. Our goal is to change the lives of the people we serve, as well as the lives of the volunteers.
To join a team or learn more, visit www.habitat.org/gv.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.
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