Habitat for Humanity: Building Homes for the Needy
On August 27, 2016, 20 young adults of the Sathya Sai Centre of Toronto-York participated in a build day with Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area’s Birchmount construction site to create a home for a family in desperate need through the Adopt-a-Day program. Habitat for Humanity is an internationally known organization which collaborates with volunteers and community partners in cities across the world in building affordable housing for low income families and promoting home ownership as a means to break through the cycle of poverty.
The young adults worked together in teams under the direction of Habitat for Humanity’s professional volunteers and construction experts in completing their construction tasks planned out for the day. The day began with safety training and a review of construction site etiquettes. The young adults then split into teams, clearing debris from the construction site, installing guards and railings for newly installed steps, and then installing a vapour barrier in the roof, among other tasks. In the afternoon, everyone worked together to insulate the entire house, measuring and cutting insulation and installing it across both levels as well as the attic space. The activity embodied Sathya Sai Baba’s message about service and serving others selflessly with no desire for reward or recognition. At the end of the day, the young adults expressed how grateful and blessed they felt to be able to volunteer for this imitative and their interest in returning soon to help again.
The family chosen to receive this Habitat home gratefully received their keys on November 7, 2016 and joyfully moved in ready for a fresh start before the holiday season. The single mother of four children first applied for a Habitat home so that her children would get a better chance at life, to break out of the cycle of poverty. Having grown up in social housing and raising her children in the same environment, the family was all too familiar with the sights and sounds of violence and the stigma associated with living in such an environment. With their new home, the family now embraces a new hope for the future, living in a happy, safe, and nurturing environment, safe to play outside and go to school. Upon entering, the family gathered in their new home to pray to thank God for all the blessings he has showered upon them. They joined 18 other families across the Greater Toronto Area who all celebrated new beginnings this season thanks to dedicated volunteers and Habitat for Humanity.