By Tamara Edwards
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
Women Build, an International Habitat for Humanity program that trains women to make a difference by building homes and communities, began construction of Durham’s fifth Women Build home on Saturday, October 2.
The organization, founded in 1998 with a mission to “empower women to take action against poverty housing conditions,” has built more than 1,400 homes to date.
Roxanne Little, associate development director of Durham’s chapter, believes the most beneficial aspect of the program is “to see women come together and learning and teaching together to make a difference.”
According to recent statistics, 40 percent of the 1.37 million total homeless populations in the U.S. are families with children. Although the Triangle has the highest per-capita income and most expensive rental market in North Carolina, it has the region’s lowest home ownership rate.
The Women Build program strives to address the housing crisis facing women and children and improve the quality of life for all families.
“Owning a home is the kind of stability my family has always craved,” said Kim Rives, 2010 Women Build homebuyer.
Women Build does not promote feminist issues and provides housing for both males and females. Organizers feel that both men and women appreciate the housing and male homebuyers often work with the women volunteers. Men also provide training programs or work as subcontractors.
Development Director Mitizi Viola describes Women Build as a “great equalizer.”
Women do not have to have any construction experience to participate in the program and volunteers do not have to work on the construction site. They may also help with training, travel or office support.
Previous recipients of homes, such as Marsha Ham, the 2009 Women Build homeowner, often come to help out and are excited to give back.
On September 16, a Women Build pre-build pep rally was held in the fellowship hall at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3639 Chapel Hill Road. At this rally 50 women and a few men gathered to learn more about the 2010 Women Build event.
“The people we build homes with are so happy, but the volunteers helping them build the homes get so much more,” said volunteer Pam Meredith.
Construction of Kim Rives new home began on October 2 at 106 Young Ave. in Northeast Central Durham and volunteers will meet every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to work in two shifts from 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m.-4 p.m.
For more information contact Women Build volunteer coordinator, Jennifer McFarland at: email@example.com or by phone at (919) 247-8254.
“When people work together great things happen,” said Rives.
Pic1: Amber Allen & Amy Moorehead of Hershey & Hymann Orthodontics at the Women Build Rally. They plan to be an integral part of this year’s build. Photo courtesy of Women Build.
Pic2: Donesha Thompson, Habitat site supervisor and Lucy Stokes, Women Build leader outside the construction site. Photo courtesy of Women Build.