Gloria Margarita and Ernesto Zuleta have a young family. At only 33 and 34 years old respectively they are parents to five children between the ages of 14 and 6. Prior to this year they got by as best as they could on Ernesto’s single income as a farmer. Their house was pieced together with cane and plastic sheeting.
Rain seeped through the roof and walls during the rainy season turning the dirt floors to mud. The family was often sick and missed days of work and school as a result. The situation is now much improved since receiving their new concrete block home. As Gloria Margarita says ‘We feel much warmer and safer now. I thank god for bringing you to me’.
Gloria Margarita’s family is one of five in the community of San Miguel Escobar who received new homes from Constru Casa in January. A total of ten families have been selected to receive concrete block homes consisting of three bedrooms and a bathroom by the end of this year. Until now these families, who exist on a single income, lived in houses with cane and tin metal walls and dirt floors. These new homes provide more than just shelter. At most the basic level the homes result in warmer, drier living conditions ensuring improved health throughout the year. Parents miss fewer days of work, improving the economic situation of the family. Similarly children’s school attendance and performance is increased. Families enjoy better security, particularly families whose livelihood is supplemented by materials stored in the home, such as textiles for weaving or agricultural foodstuffs. Financial independence is increased as families benefit from owning their own home and spending reduced time and money on maintenance. At the community level improved housing creates employment, social stability, improved economic conditions and ultimately community empowerment.
Constru Casa’s aim in building these homes is to improve the families living conditions and empower them to create a better lifestyle for themselves, their children and their community. It sounds like an overwhelming goal at first but we believe that appropriate housing can create a ripple effect that benefits the whole community and society. We look forward to building the next five family homes in San Miguel Escobar over the coming months and following up with these families over the next four years. Thanks to our partner organization De la Gente and volunteers and donors for their support!