Fort a third consecutive year, Habitat Para la Humanidad Argentina (HPHA) held a ‘Building Seeds of Hope’ Construction Event. This year, the event was held in the neighborhood of Los Ceibos of Gonzalez Catan. International volunteers from Ireland and corporate supporters of this initiative, participated in building foundations for three new homes.
The theme of this year’s event was rugby. The last week of the event was attended by volunteers representing Habitat for Humanity of Ireland, including two legends of Irish rugby; Brent Pope and Paddy Johns. Brent and Paddy, as part of a volunteer team that had already worked in Zambia and Mexico, participated in construction activities. For their part, the Beromama Rugby Club, located in the Los Ceibos neighborhood, supported the event by making their facilities available to HPHA staff, that put up a large tent for use as a volunteers meeting point and which increased the event’s visibility.
”Inspired by Rugby’s values of teamwork, solidarity, commitment, dedication and fun; this year we came to plant new seeds of hope that will enable more families to live in better conditions.”, said Ana Cutts, Executive Director of HPHA.
Lidia and Daniel and their two daughters are one of the families who benefited from the event. They have lived for over eighteen years in an house made of wood and sheet metal. After they became aware of HPHA’s work, they decided to begin construction of their new home on the front part of their lot. They want to improve their living situation but, even more, they want to improve conditions for their daughters who, as teenagers, need a space of their own.
Daniel tells us that he is hoping to finish the house as soon as posible so that “the roof won’t leak anymore when it rains and I won’t have to leave the house at dawn to use the bathroom”. Lidia says excitedly: “this is incredible, we are really very grateful to everyone who is helping us achieve it”.
Marcela and Jose, and Maria and Claudio are the other two families that started home construction during the event. Both families joined the HPHA project because they lived in inadequate housing conditions that affected the health of some family members.
For over seven days, volunteers from corporate contributors such as Mercedes Benz, Cisco, Whirlpool and Ford, working alongside volunteers from Ireland, demonstrated their high spirits and commitment by successfully completing several important construction tasks. By the end of the event, Lidia’s, Maria’s and Marcela’s homes had their foundations in place and were ready for wall raising, the second stage of construction. ”Building better homes is part of our DNA as a company. That’s why we are proud to take part in the these HPHA events and to contribute not only through our products but also through our active participation, so that each day more and more families have a proper home to live in”, said Julian Ballarino, Whirlpool’s Institutional Relations Manager for southern Latin America , following his participation.
A rugby clinic was held following the end of the event, directed by Pope and Johns at the Berorama Club. The clinic was attended by neighborhood children and by field hockey players from the Club’s team. Everyone enjoyed the training which showed different ways to play with the oval ball. Following the clinic, participants were invited to congregate around HPHA’s tent to receive acknowledgements and special thanks for taking part in the third consecutive annual event.
Collaborators: Basani, Club Beromama, Gilbert, Obra del Padre Mario, Staples Argentina. y Vader Pack.
Dedication of Noelia Fernandez’ home, started during the 2012 Seeds of Hope event.
A dedication ceremony for Noelia Fernandez’ home held on September 23. Noelia is one of the beneficiaries of HPHA’s Developing Neighborhoods program in La Matanza. The ceremony was a moment of celebration and gratitude. Noelia recalled with happiness the assistance received from all the volunteers that helped her reach this important moment of her life. Members of HPHA’s Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, neighbors, family and friends helped Noelia celebrate this important day.
Buenos Aires’ Irish community welcomed the Habitat for Humanity Ireland volunteers.
During their brief stay in Buenos Aires, the Irish volunteers were honored by the Irish Embassy. The embassy organized a press conference during which volunteers shared their experience with the media. In addition, the Irish Club FAHY, located in Buenos Aires’ Belgrano neighborhood, sponsored an Intercultural Evening for the benefit of HPHA’s Neighborhood Development program.
Sharon Lennon of the Irish Embassy, HPHA Executive Director Ana Cutts, Brent Jones and Paddy Johns, and retired Argentine rugby star Rafael Madero spoke at the press conference. Pope and Johns agreed that it was a true honor to be able to take part in this project and to be able to help people improve their lives. Pope emphasized the link between sport and this type of activity, which can be used to build a better society “the camaraderie of rugby, the idea of teamwork is something worth learning, particularly for the children”. Also attending the press conference were members of HPHA’s Board of Directors, staff, donors, volunteers and former Argentine rugby stars Eliseo “Chapa” Branca and Miguel “Techi” Tezanos Pinto.
Over seventy people enjoyed an Intercultural Evening of music, argentine food and wine, as well as Irish dance and tango shows and a raffle. All funds raised were allocated towards the Neighborhood Development project being implemented by HPHA in the Los Ceibos of Gonzalez Catan neighborhood, together with the Obra del Padre Mario.
The Pumas also score.
Pope and Johns attended a training session of the national Argentine rugby team, the Pumas, which was held just prior to the Pumas match against New Zealand’s All Blacks, played in late September. They were welcomed by the Puma’s team captain Fernandez Lobbe, team trainer Tati Phelan and other players including Felipe Contrepomi, who knows Pope from his playing days in Ireland.