First Buy-A-Brick builds in Reho
Over the past three weekends, residents of Rehoboth, assisted by employees of Standard Bank, have been hard at work making enough of their own bricks, to start building houses. This project is the first tangible results of the bank’s Buy-A-Brick initiative which was launched last year October.
Getting the project out of the starting block, Standard Bank executives and staff got their hands dirty in helping the less privileged communities of Burgershoek and Kavukiland to make bricks in the Block E (Extension 7 and 8) area in Rehoboth near the graveyard.
“As a bank, we don’t just want to talk the talk, but also walk the walk by getting involved in helping poor communities to live sustainable lives. We invest one percent of profit after tax into community projects like these to make a positive difference in the livelihood of Namibians,” said Sigrid Tjijorokisa, Standard Bank’s Head of Corporate Social Investment.
After a quick meet and greet at the crack of dawn, a group of 100 Rehobothers were all too eager to grab spades, wheelbarrows and brick moulds to start making bricks. Bricks which are destined to build a decent place which the people of Rehoboth can one day call “my eie huis” or “ti oms sa” in Afrikaans and Damara/Nama languages respectively. A total number of approximately 800 bricks were made during the course of three Saturdays.
“This is a great project because it empowers us to work for something that we want – a home of our own. We are helping each other and we can soon forget about renting other people’s houses or living in a shack. At least we will be having a roof over our heads,” said Rehoboth resident, Sarah Diergaardt.
Dorothea Block whose group #Oabate falls under the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia said that Standard Bank’s brick making gesture is highly welcomed as most of the 500 families from Burgershoek and Kavukiland have lived in corrugated shacks for many years.
“Life is tough here and we thank Standard Bank for involving us in this process of making our own bricks. It gives me great hope and courage to know that my children and husband will be staying in a decent home one day,” added Block.
For Helen van Wyk (44) having a place of her own is close to her heart as she takes care of her 84-year old father, Paul Tities who has never owned a property in his life. “He now stays with me for the past 10 years with my four children, but he always wished he had his own home and that is why I am involved in this project,” she said.
By the end of each Saturday, the dedication and commitment of the brickmakers did not waiver. They continued making bricks until it was completely dark.