“Women don’t just clean houses. We can build them too,” says top executive Denise Cranston before she flies to India on a charity building mission.
And the Lurgan woman has enlisted a number of elite businesswoman more used to the boardroom than a building site.
Women are forced to go to large areas which have become known as ‘defecating fieldsDenise Cranston
This is her sixth trip with Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build but her first time to India where she is horrified at the conditions some have to live in.
She explained that during the building for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India large numbers of people were displaced and their homes bulldozed to cater for the Games.
Many were forced to move into huge camps with little or no sanitation.
“Women are forced to go to large areas which have become known as ‘defecating fields’,” said Denise.
She said that while there, many woman have been brutally raped and murdered.
The aim of the trip is not just to build houses but homes with bathroom facilities which can be used by the local community.
The volunteers will help build homes alongside women in one of the poorest communities in Delhi, who have been socially and economically oppressed after generations of discrimination.
The team are supporting Habitat NI’s partnership with Habitat India which empowers women to break the cycle of poverty through building safe homes and healthy toilets. As well as building new homes in Delhi,
Habitat is also ensuring families in rural communities in Rajasthan have access to proper sanitation. It costs just £200 to build a toilet.
Nine women will be joining Denise on the Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build to mark International Women’s Day and each will be paying for their own flights and accommodation.
They will be volunteering their time and Denise is fundraising to help cover the cost of building materials and to make a donation to Habitat for Humanity.
Denise, who has two children and four grandchildren, has already made five trips with Habitat for Humanity and, though she finds it harrowing, she believes it is very rewarding.
“It is tough. Seeing first hand how they live - it is just heartbreaking,” she said.
As she is getting ready to go to India, Denise remembers the work her and others carried out in South Africa, particularly raising £25k for a new hospital wing at the God’s Golden Acre orphanage.
Indeed the fundraising has started and Denise wants to thank everyone at Glenavon Football Club who donated at the Glenavon v Coleraine match in December when £300 was raised.
If anyone wants to donate they can either do so directly with Habitat or they can donate through Denise Every Day Hero fundraising page
In Northern Ireland, Habitat brings people together from across the community to serve the most vulnerable.
It raises funds to support long-term partner programmes in some of our world’s poorest communities.
Habitat is a Christian housing organisation which welcomes people of all faiths and none to help build a world where everyone has a decent place to live.