Rehoboth shack dwellers start building
The construction of 40 houses in Rehoboth was launched last week, following a brick-making process which continued over several weekends. These houses are built with funds collected by Standard Bank as part of its Buy-A-Brick project which brought in more than N$1.3 million.
Vetumbuavi Mungunda, Chief Executive of Standard Bank said these funds, collected over a period of eight months, will be used by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia to build the 40 houses in Rehoboth.
The funds were officially handed over to the federation’s patron, First Lady Monica Geingos who said that owning a decent house is the first step to eradicating poverty and the housing shortage especially when communities themselves are involved. “Once you have a house you have to make it a home with elements of love, peace, food and protection. If your home is broken our society is broken,” she said.
An overwhelming number of Namibians participated and contributed to the Buy-A-Brick initiative, with the highest amount of N$200,000 contributed by Namsov and N$50,000 by PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Standard Bank made a seed contribution of N$500,000 at the launch of the project in October last year.
“This initiative, together with the patronage of the First Lady, helped to further raise the profile of the housing challenge as well as the name and the sterling work of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia,” said Mungunda. The Shack Dwellers Federation has seen a significant increase in direct contributions by other corporates and institutions in the last year.
“This is a great testimony to the efficiencies of our partner, the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, and the excellent public-private partnerships that have been forged with the Rehoboth Town Council and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. On my calculation, these houses should be ready for occupation within a year from the launch date of the project. This is a real and tangible progress,” he said.
Standard Bank’s management and staff assisted the community of Rehoboth with brick-making sessions over three consecutive weekends. A total of 800 bricks were made during this period. “These participatory sessions are geared towards bringing our employees and our bank closer to the projects and communities we assist,” said Mungunda.
The Shack Dwellers Federation expects to complete the construction of the 40 houses before the end of this year.