Every day we see ordinary people do extraordinary things
"Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom… Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.”
It’s fitting that today, International Volunteer Day, is also the first anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death.
At Habitat for Humanity, every day we see ordinary people do extraordinary things to build the society Nelson Mandela envisaged; an inclusive society in which all people can live in dignity and hope.
On International Volunteer Day, we thank our wonderful volunteers for their energy, passion and commitment to our work. Volunteers are at the heart of our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. In so many different ways, volunteers help serve families in urgent need of a place to call home and, in doing so, break down barriers, challenge stereotypes and inspire others to join our global movement. This is all essential to building hope.
Last year, 2 million volunteers joined us in mission globally. Over the past 20 years in Northern Ireland, more than 25,000 volunteers have engaged in our work. Here are just some of the ways they have done so:
1) Onsite in Belfast – Since the beginning of October almost 200 volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to help build a strong community in South Belfast. Volunteers from all walks of life are helping out on our new project in partnership with Windsor Presbyterian Church. Together, we are renovating the church hall to create a welcoming hub for the diverse local community and developing meaningful relationships based on respect. Learn more.
2) Habitat ReStore – Volunteers have contributed more than 20,000 hours to Habitat ReStore since it opened 2 years ago. Their hard work is helping to raise funds to support Habitat programmes around the world and serve the local community, enabling low-income families to improve their home for less. ReStore is a safe environment for vulnerable young people to engage in training opportunities to gain confidence and learn new skills to increase employability. Learn more.
3) International Volunteers – more than 5,000 volunteers from across Northern Ireland have travelled to support our partner programmes around the world. They have the joy of touching the lives of families in need and growing from the experience themselves. Volunteers build beside familiesin need and raise funds to serve many more. To the communities in which they visit, volunteers bring a powerful message that the poor are not forgotten and inspire others, in their own community, to support our work. Learn more.
4) Event and Office Support – a terrific team of volunteers support our work at events or in our office. Volunteers help with promotion, logistics and project management; attending information fairs and speaking to church and community groups. For some volunteers supporting in this way enables them to stay connected to Habitat and others, like Sarah, embrace the opportunity to give back and learn new skills too. Learn more.
5) Board of Directors – Members of the Habitat NI board of directors are volunteers who provide financial oversight and guide the organisation’s strategy as we work to build a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
If you're a Habitat volunteer, no matter how you engage, we thank you for all that you do! We are mindful that, "Volunteers don't necessarily have the time; they just have the heart." Thank you for having the heart for Habitat's work.
As we work to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, let's be the generation to end poverty. Let's be the generation to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.