Habitat for Humanity Build

The UJW of Cape Town built two houses simultaneously in Mfuleni as part of the Habitat for Humanity project, which is designed to expedite the building and provision of houses in township communities. Various partners were approached in a bid to make it an interfaith, cross-cultural, bridge building experience.

The build took place in collaboration with Power Construction, Associated Magazines, Habonim, SAWID (South African Women in Dialogue) and the Rotary Club of Sea Point as well as four UJW groups — namely Kesher, Constantia, Milnerton and Naarot. Both homes were built over 5 days, mainly by women and five men. On the final day the keys to the homes were handed over to the delighted new owners in a simple but moving ceremony.

Participants in the build were involved in mixing concrete in the road with spades, shovelling it onto wheelbarrows, which were then wheeled up a ramp to the building teams. Others stood in lines passing cement bricks and necessary equipment.

One volunteer referred to their motley team of “handlangers” as “a conveyer belt of kugels”! Although it was hard work, the consensus of opinion was that it was very meaningful and great fun!

Benedict, a recipient of one of the homes, said, “The community should understand that this is true reconciliation — different people working together for the good of someone in need. In the eyes of G-d we are all equal.”

The homeowners, assisted by their relatives, provided workers with a delicious tea of white bread and jam and vegetarian curry for lunch. The symbolism of ‘breaking bread’ together was felt and appreciated by all the participants.


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