A Greater Manchester housing provider has certainly gone the extra mile with its recent work to help local communities – in fact, it’s gone all the way to Johannesburg in South Africa.
A 30-strong team of volunteers working for housing group ForViva went out to help the people living in the impoverished township of Lehae. To compound the disadvantages of poverty, the community is also dealing with the devastating impact of AIDS.
“In South Africa five million people have AIDS,” explained Colette McKune, group deputy chief executive, who went along as part of the team. “A generation has been wiped out by this disease, having a devastating impact on communities like Lehae. Most children are brought up by their grandparents as a result.”
The ForViva volunteers were working with charity The Footprints Foundation, which works to improve the lives of disadvantaged people around the world.
In Lehae, the team have been working with the children and their families, helping them to build a community centre. This is something of a lifeline for local people, it is said, as it will offer the opportunity for local people to learn new skills and gain an income.
Ahead of the trip, ForViva staff raised some £36,000 for the work of The Footprints Foundation.
“It’s been a real team effort,” McKune added. “We’ve had a whole host of activities going on, including a race night, football tournaments, car wash days and more.
“The support we’ve had from partners has been fantastic too. They have given their time, donated money and generous prizes for auction. And our colleagues helped us to prepare for the work we needed to do there by training us in bricklaying and other vital skills.”
Basic but desperately needed items such as spectacles, sanitary products and shoes for the children were also collected by the team’s friends and families so they could be taken over to Lehae.
During the visit, the team posted a series of vlogs, capturing the experience; For Viva has shared some of those videos with Northern Housing below.
Images and video courtesy of ForViva.