Canadians fly in to help build Nelson homes


Two refugee families from Myanmar will soon be the proud new owners of two Habitat for Humanity homes, thanks to the help of a group of Canadian volunteers.

The group of 15 volunteers arrived in Nelson yesterday, and will help build the two three-bedroom houses on Kawai St over the next 12 days, alongside Nelson chairman, Rob Silcock.

The build is part of the ‘Global Village’ tour programme that Habitat for Humanity organises, where people are able to put their hand up to volunteer abroad to help build decent, affordable shelter alongside members of the community. Rob himself has been involved with overseas trips numerous times.

Canadian team leader Alan Dickinson says that for some of the group it is their first time they have been to New Zealand, while some have visited here before for Habitat projects and loved it so much they wanted to come back. Alan got involved with Habitat for Humanity around 10 years ago after Hurricane Katrina, and helped rebuild houses on the Gulf Coast.

“I was looking for something meaningful to do when I retired four years ago,” he says. “And then I found the Global Village tour.”

“It’s a wonderful experience, and a positive life-altering experience. We have a mission to break the poverty cycle by providing quality affordable housing for all.”

The two families who have been selected for the houses will be involved with the build, as part of the 500 hours they are required to give to the project.

Alan says it’s great for the global volunteers to be able to meet and learn about the families they are building the homes for.

Rob says the families should be able to move in sometime in the New Year.