Heart of @home Warms Hearts Across The Country
Recently a family in the community of Lawley were given the keys to their own house after a team of @home employees put their hearts into helping the family build their new home. This took place the week of the 18th of July and formed part of @home’s corporate social investment (CSI) support of Habitat for Humanity South Africa in aid of Mandela Day. The initiative forms part of @home’s company-wide CSI initiative, called Heart of @home.
Says Chris Swart, head of @home: “Heart of @home was launched in 2017 and is the result of an extensive engagement process with all our employees to establish how they believed we as an organisation could do more in the communities we serve. The result of that collaborative process was very powerful. What we heard from our employees was that they have a sense of urgency in wanting to help and respect the hardships that too many of our fellow citizens are facing, and to be involved in practical ways to help improve their circumstances.”
One of the resulting projects is the support of Habitat for Humanity South Africa, an organisation focused on shelter, which works with communities to identify needs for housing, and then in turn partners with government, construction companies, corporations and volunteers to assist families to build better homes.
“Habitat for Humanity SA was selected as a Heart of @home beneficiary because of the impact they have in communities and the values they hold. What they do and what we do resonates, albeit on different ends of the scale. We’re also in the business of helping South Africans create homes. It gave our team members an opportunity to be active participants in building a home for a family,” Swart explains.
Other initiatives supported by Heart of @home since launching included extensive support of the Knysna fire relief efforts, as well the skills development project, Hands of Hope in Cape Town, which supports female former inmates on parole with skills development and employment opportunities. The handmade picnic cooler bags made by these women were sold at @home stores.
Swart concludes: “It’s been powerful and very humbling for our teams to witness how a healthy community and the provision of adequate shelter can be in creating a sense of dignity and in breaking the chains of poverty. It is about more than just building houses. It is about building homes and empowering individuals and families by helping them to sustain an economic future. Our teams feel encouraged because they are part of a process which helps create a sense of dignity for the individuals, families and communities who benefit from Heart of @home.”