REPEAT AFTER ME: UMGABABA !

By Charlotte BERGELIN

Ever considered launching a far reaching charity initiative? In October, a group of eighteen representatives from La Tour – 14 students and 4 teachers – literally did, in every sense of the word “far”. Under the Habitat for Humanity banner, they flew their way for almost 12 hours to South Africa to build houses for the benefit of the underprivileged of a local community.

“The mark of a truly great society is one that takes care of the least”. These were the words of Millard and Linda Muller, the creators of the organization. Habitat for Humanity was created in 1976 in the United States by a lawyer and his wife. The point of the association was to help people living mainly in Africa, Europe and Middle East who could not afford the construction of their house. Even if at first they were alone, nowadays the organization has expanded and collaborates with different partners such as Ikea or the Weinerberger Group that help them with some materials and building expertise. Yet Habitat for Humanity is mostly based on generosity and volunteering: some of the materials that are used come from donations from all around the world. The handwork is mostly done by volunteers who wish to help needy families: the solidarity of people is proven! Members of La Tour seized this great opportunity and participated in this trip.

The students of premiere and terminale flew to South Africa in the little village of Umbagaga, which is located near the Indian Ocean, for ten days. For most of them, this was a new experience which made up for a real challenge. During their trip, their worst enemy was heat: working the whole day under high temperatures was exhausting! But the good ambience between the students and teachers helped everyone take part in the tasks with joy. The teachers testify: “It was fun even if it was hard work, everybody pinched in”. The teachers and students were divided into teams of work and they managed a jaw-dropping achievement: three houses were completed in the ten day span! The funding of the trip started a long time before the flight. Indeed, they started by helping in events like Thanksgiving and even sold bracelets at school; they also collected donations. The result of this experience could not be better: the teachers are very proud of the students for their work and the students’ self-esteem got a remarkable boost!

Thanks to the Habitat for Humanity association, the students who were part of the trip had the chance to help needy families. An experience so easy to give attempt. So will you try it next time?

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