NUI Galway Students to Build Homes in Ghana

Monday, 22 January 2007

22 January 2007: Twenty-one NUI Galway student volunteers have been selected to travel to Ghana in May to help local people build their own homes. The students will spend two weeks in the western African country working and living on the construction site with the homeowners' families. On Thursday, at NUI Galway, Mayor of Galway Niall Ó Brolcháin will announce the names of the chosen volunteers and formally launch the fund-raising efforts to finance the trip.

The trip is being organised by the NUI Galway Chaplaincy, part of the University's Student Services, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity Ghana, which has already built over 4,000 homes in Ghana. According to Habitat for Humanity Ghana, despite a high per capita output, the majority of Ghanaians live in overcrowded rooms with the attendant health problems. Response to the project from the University community has been huge with well over 250 people attending a preliminary information evening and over 110 people applying for places on the team.

According to one of the team leaders, Sr. Avril O'Regan from NUI Galway's chaplaincy; "The group of volunteers is comprised of enthusiastic students who, having been afforded the opportunities of a university education in Ireland, wish to give something back to those less well off. This is a unique opportunity to become active partners with people of another culture and help build homes and hope."

Sister Avril continued, "Enthusiasm and volunteers are assets we have in abundance for this exciting and challenging project but we require material and financial support. Sending a team abroad entails significant cost which the team must fund entirely. Money raised goes to cover personal costs e.g. travel, insurance, food and water, as well as project costs including a substantial contribution towards the construction of the houses. In total the team seeks to raise in excess of €60,000."

The NUI Galway group comprises 24 people, including three team leaders. The 21 students chosen for the team are drawn from a variety of Faculties and counties. The team leaders are Sr. Avril O'Regan (Dean of Residence/Chaplain NUI Galway), Mr Peter Mannion (Students' Union Education Officer NUI Galway) and Fr. Gabriel Kinahan (Franciscan, The Abbey).

Parties interested in supporting this work may make a donation by sending it to Habitat for Humanity, c/o Sr. Avril O'Regan, Dean of Residence, NUI Galway. All monies received will go directly to this project. Further information can be obtained from Sr. Avril O'Regan on 091 492168 (avril.oregan@nuigalway.ie), from Peter Mannion on 091 493707 (peter.mannion@nuigalway.ie) or by visiting www.habitatireland.ie.

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Notes to Editors:

How Habitat for Humanity (HFH) works: HFH builds and renovates simple, decent homes with the help of homeowner families, through volunteer labour and donations of money and materials. HFH works to make homes available to all people regardless of race, faith, gender or age.

HFH build houses throughout the world, including Ireland, where the first four homes were built in Ballymun in 2005. In Ghana they build more than 400 houses a year and recently celebrated the dedication of their 4000th house.

HFH homes are sold to low-income families at no profit and are financed through affordable long-term loans. Mortgage length varies between 7 – 30 years. All mortgage payments, combined with donations, are used to build more homes around the world through a revolving fund. In addition, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labour building their own homes and the homes of others. Among other benefits, this reduces the cost of the homes, increases the pride of home ownership and builds communities.

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