A team of 13 Canadian volunteers travelled to Chile in January to work on four Habitat for Humanity houses in the greater Santiago area for a two week period. Through Habitat for Humanity's Global Village program, the teams modified four homes in metro Santiago as part of a heart-warming project aimed at helping families with critically ill children.
Co-ordinated by “Habitat Para la Humanidad Chile”, the teams renovated the houses so that institutionalized and hospitalized children could return home and be safely and comfortably cared for by their families.
From 2008-2010, a total of 188 Canadian volunteers will have participated in the construction of housing solutions for Chilean families, and Canadian Global Village teams will have donated over $65,000 USD to cover the construction costs of over twenty housing solutions.
On January 26, Ambassador Fountain Smith visited one of the projects and met both the partner family and a number of dedicated Canadian volunteers. The family lives in a modest home in the San Ramon district of Santiago. One of their three children suffers from a neurological disorder characterized by convulsions and compromised motor skills. A bout with bacterial meningitis has also left him almost completely blind and partially deaf.
"It is inspiring to see that this group of Canadian volunteers is so committed to improving the lives of Chilean families they have never even met. What is even more amazing is that although they generally don't speak the same language, the families, organizers and volunteers are able to find common ground and to work toward the shared goal of ensuring that families in need have access to safe and adequate housing." – Ambassador Fountain Smith
This five year old boy has been sharing a bedroom with his parents since his birth. The room has ventilation problems and water leaks, further complicating his fragile health condition.
During their stay, the Canadian Habitat for Humanity team constructed an addition to the house measuring 3 meters by 2.5 meters so that this young boy could grow up in a safe, clean room of his own. The partner family was extremely grateful for the contributions of this team and told Embassy officials that this is a life altering renovation that will dramatically improve the quality of life of the entire family.
This project is yet another example of the important contributions Canadians are making in Chile and the region. Visit Habitat for Humanity Canada’s website for more information on the work being done on behalf of their Global Village Program.
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