Habitat for Humanity

Habitat For Humanity


Driven by the vision that everyone deserves a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. We've since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in nearly 1,400 communities throughout the U.S. and in 70 countries worldwide. Family and individuals in need of decent, affordable shelter partner with Habitat to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. By volunteering you'll be adding a voice to support affordable housing and will help families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.



Linda and Ron Kuker in Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Yes, I recommend this program

My husband and I have gone on over 15 overseas builds. Over the years we have become aware of how important it is to check our actions and motives to include sustainability of the program as a priority. I know “sustainability” has become a popular catch phrase and an elusive one to describe, but we saw it in action in Kenya. James Waitaka is the in country leader and he has a wonderful ability to work with and build up the local community. A panel of men and women from the community chose the family who would be helped. Everyday a dozen people would come to the site to help mix concrete, haul concrete, and tie rebar. We learned about the school that was built with the community so the children didn’t have to walk so far to go to school. We worked with a young man who had been trained as a mason through his work with Habitat. And the bricks we used to build the house had been made by the local women using a machine Habitat supplied. This job provided income for their families. We came away with a real sense of how Habitat can function at it’s best. It is with joy in our hearts that we continue to support the work they do there.

Yes, I recommend this program

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip from beginning to end. I was very impressed with the organization of the project. Our Habitat – El Salvador contact was excellent. Katy (spelling?) was a joy to work with; her youthful energy and pleasant personality were contagious. My favorite part of the project was working side by side with local workers. Our lack of a common language did not seem to be a hindrance. These are hard working, joyful people. I also enjoyed a feeling of being a part of this community; I loved having so many children at our work-site. The future homeowners were so appreciative, I was truly humbled.

Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with the Rebuild Christchurch build in New Zealand is where I feel I have made the biggest and most concrete difference (both literally and figuratively) in my time volunteering internationally.

Many parts of Christchurch were severely damaged in an earthquake in 2011, and after having organized multiple builds abroad to help other countries, NZ's Habitat for Humanity organized a build to help their own. The people and organizations we helped were mainly low income, uninsured, or otherwise in need. Seeing those people's faces each day when we showed up to our work sites was absolutely priceless.

I remember helping out at one particular house where an older couple lived--they made us tea and crumpets as a thank-you snack one day (to this day, I have yet to find a recipe that rivals that one), and we sat at talked with them while enjoying the treat. At first I was impatient to get back to work and get more done that day, but I slowly began to see (and confirmed with a fellow volunteer later) that the time we spent talking with that couple was just as valuable to them as the work we were doing repairing their home. That genuine care and gratitude has stuck with me, and has even inspired my career direction.

The skills that I learned during my time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand have also proved invaluable. I learned how to level and strengthen foundations, re-plaster, deconstruct and rebuild brick walls whose mortar had cracked, mix and install concrete, and much more. The Kiwi master builders had complete faith that we volunteers could learn and help with just about anything--even myself as a young-20s female with little construction knowledge at that point.

The people are really what made the experience--the people we helped, and particularly all of the volunteers, from the family who organized the builds to the people who came from around the world to help rebuild the livelihoods of people in need.

What would you improve about this program?
It's hard to think of ways that the program could be improved because it was so well planned and prepared, from safe and solid volunteer cabins/bunks to the food prep to the build site organization. I know that they expected us to be exhausted from a long day's work (which we were!), but I would have possibly liked to help out even more, such as helping prepare the food for our evening meal together. Honestly, though, it was a great experience. You have to expect to work hard when you sign up, though!
Yes, I recommend this program

Habitat for Humanity is an internationally renowned and recognized organization that rebuilds communities into prosperous and sustainable developments. 2 summers ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Romania with HFH: Learn and Build Experience. I spent two weeks in Ploiesti, Romania assisting in building a Habitat for Humanity home as well as learning about the need for Habitat through educational activities. My group and I would work on the homes for a majority of the day and in the evening we would discuss about Romanian oppression and the role of the government. Through Habitat for Humanity, I was able to gain more knowledge about global poverty. By building new homes for the recipient families, I was able to restore their hope and confidence. When a person travel abroad, it is often difficult to create lasting ties and effective participation; however, Habitat for Humanity encouraged us to look part the label of international visitor and focus more on the amount of impact one can leave. I was able to create meaningful relationships with the families by listening to their life stories while working alongside them. To this day, with the help of Google Translate, I still email a mother from one of the families. Knowledge is not only obtained through institutional methods, but also by pushing your personal boundaries. By pushing myself to volunteer internationally at a young age to a foreign country, I have been able to take on a new perspective to the world. I am very grateful to Habitat for Humanity for being the organization that helped me find this passion for global volunteering. Their ability to make me feel comfortable, safe, and important was crucial to my overall experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Habitat for Humanity excelled in almost all aspects of the trip. However, it would have been extremely helpful if they provided us with a translator. Working along side the recipient families was amazing, but we mainly relied on body language and locals who were bilingual to help us translate. Our communication would have been a bit more effective if we had a professional translator employed by Habitat for Humanity.
Yes, I recommend this program

I would not trade anything for this experience. Every minute I spent in El Salvador was amazing from the Habitat staff to the families that we worked with. I know that I was able to change the life of the family I worked with. My Habitat group spent 5 days working on the house and 2 days immersing ourselves in the El Salvadorian culture. I learned so much on this trip, so it is far to imagine my life now without the experience. I will never forget the smiles of the kids in the families there, and I know that they now have a roof above their heads. When we pulled up to the job site every morning, we were like the circus coming to town. People came out of everywhere to see us. They wanted to know everything they could about the strange new people. They were overly welcoming. They were ready to teach us anything we wanted to know, and we were ready and waiting to learn everything. I have been asked many times, ‘how could you feel safe in a third-world country?’ Truth is, I have never felt safer. The people there are so amazing, and they respect the fact that you are there to help them. They know that you are not they for your own needs, but there to help the people in their neighborhoods. Habitat is also amazingly good at placing their groups in a safe area and setting rules to keep the entire group safe. The trip cost me $2,000, but I would pay more for the experience. Part of the money goes to the construction of the house as well. I would work so hard to be able to go on this trip; the cost is not a factor in the enjoyment of the trip. I would not change anything about the trip. I was amazing to be able to experience something so amazing. It was defiantly a trip of a life time.


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