Belfast Telegraph

Charity's plea for volunteers to build homes in Romania

By Helen Carson

Housing charity Habitat for Humanity has called for 150 volunteers from Northern Ireland to help build houses in poverty-stricken Romania later this year.

The appeal is Habitat's biggest-ever call for volunteers which will see 10 new homes built in the Romanian town of Baltesti outside Bucharest in September.

This the third year of the Habitat for Humanity house-building programme 'The Big Build' in Romania which is part of its international effort to rehouse the world's poorest people.

Maeve Donnolly, senior communications officer at Habitat for Humanity in Northern Ireland, said: "There are 150,000 homeless people in Romania, and we need 150 volunteers of all ages and abilities from the province to help us with this project."

Volunteers will have to go through Habitat's recruitment procedure, but Maeve says anyone can apply regardless of their age or experience.

Each volunteer has to raise £1,850 to cover the cost of flights, accommodation and their expenses with the rest a contribution to Habitat.

Once on site, the work starts from the house foundations up with painting and staining of wood to also putting up plasterboard; typically the sort of jobs volunteers are asked to do.

Previously, volunteers have included people in their 70s to couples, church groups and individuals who just want to lend a hand.

Maeve said: "The Romanian people who will live in the houses are also involved in the build, so volunteers get to know and see what impact the build makes on their lives."

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, Habitat has just started work on a housing scheme in east Belfast. There will be six new houses on the Templemore Avenue site when it is complete.

Anyone wishing to volunteer for the Big Build can find out more at www.habitatni.co.uk/bigbuild or email Emma Hurrell at emmah@habitatni.co.uk.

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