Home help for Samoans

By Sapeer Mayron ,

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Habitat for Humanity at work in Samoa.

Habitat for Humanity at work in Samoa. (Photo: Habitat for Humanity)

An international charity is behind the build of 286 new homes around Apia.

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand in partnership with local organisations has completed three years of building on the islands, bringing its total number of homes in Samoa to 500.

International Projects Advisor, Lou Maea, says the project is about more than building homes; it’s actually about financial literacy.

Habitat builds homes and sells them to people who cannot necessarily take loans from mainstream sources like banks.

“We know our customers,” says Mr. Maea.

“They are vulnerable, living in overcrowded situations with a low income. We tailor a loan programme and follow up on a three, six and 12 month basis.”

In Samoa, they work with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) in order to better reach the community they are trying to support.

“We take into account the capacity of our partners to reach the people we are trying to serve,” says Mr. Maea.

“A.D.R.A. has been doing exceptional work in the community and have made all sorts of progress.

“For us, it’s a matter of  developing trust with our partners, and developing structures together with them to allow the work to continue after the building project is done.”

Habitat for Humanity is a charity which engages volunteers to quickly put up affordable housing where it is most needed.

Some are professional builders and plumbers and work alongside people from all walks of life in the building process. 

They raised NZ1.49 million (T$2.6 m) in funding from New Zealand’s Partnership Fund for the three years of work.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs Partnership Fund is for non-government, private and state sector organisations working with locals in developing countries.

In its most recent round of funding, it contributed $15 million to 19 applications such as the Salvation Army who recieved funding for a five year program in Samoa to reduce violence towards women by treating addiction. 

The Pacific region was allocated 80% of the most recent round of funding, compared to 14% going to South East Asia, and 6% going to Ethiopia.

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia