Yaojia township of Jiange county is located in northern Sichuan province, within Qin-Ba Mountainous Area, one of the major poverty-stricken areas in China. There are more than a thousand of families who are still in primitive, unsanitary and unsafe mud-clay houses. These houses were poorly designed and have no proper sanitary and ventilation facilities. This not only makes these families vulnerable to natural disasters but also poses serious health hazards.
A safe and affordable home is the foundation of life, where every family member is able to acquire the skills and opportunities they need to work hard in hope to build themselves a better future. Habitat China launched the Poverty Housing Improvement Project in Yaojia township in May, 2016, aiming to help low-income rural families build safe and affordable homes through the provision of non-interest loan, technical support and volunteer input. The repayments from the home partners will be saved in the “Community Housing Fund” to help more families in need rebuild homes in this region.
After a series of work such as community mobilization, housing loan application, family visit and family selection, 18 families were selected as Habitat home partners. On November 30, 2017, they came to the township meeting room early in the morning to sign a housing loan contract with the Poverty Housing Improvement Project funded by Caterpillar Foundation. Each of the family will receive a non-interest loan of RMB 20,000 that will help reduce the financial burden. During the meeting, Mr. Huang smiled and repeatedly said: “Thanks so much for your help, I promise that I will pay back the loan on time every year.”
Mr. Huang and his family made a living by collecting and selling waste paper in Guangzhou several years ago and returned home in 2013 for health reasons. Mr. Huang could not afford to rebuild their dilapidated house after spending most of their savings on medication. Mr. Huang’s wife passed away in 2017 and now his greatest desire is to build a new house so that his son can least have a safe, simple but decent home to live and get married. Mr. Huang said: “This means a lot to me. I have been dreaming to build a new home for long and now I finally got the opportunity to make it happen.”
Habitat’s Poverty Housing Improvement Project in Yaojia township will continue to help at least ten low-income rural families like Huang to obtain a safer and healthier home in the first half of 2018 through housing reconstruction and repair. With our help, Habitat home partners will be able to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a brighter tomorrow.