GSB students with heart help build a new home

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Students from the UCT Graduate School of Business recently joined forces with Habitat for Humanity on a major home building project taking place in Mfuleni on the Cape Flats.

This community outreach project saw the students spend Saturday 7 July lending a helping hand by laying the foundations of a new home. Cold, wet weather and an early morning start did little to dampen the spirits of the lively bunch as they enthusiastically immersed themselves in the build.

Steve Stewart, head of Community Projects and Fundraising on the PGDMP (Post Graduate Diploma in Management Practice) Council, described the day as a tremendous success.

"All the students were so passionate about the project. We really felt that it was time to give something back to the community,' said Stewart.

After researching many options they decided that Habitat for Humanity was a worthy cause to support. The organisation has already built 26 new homes in Mfuleni and plans to have 250 more homes completed there by the end of next year. The students spent the day digging and preparing the foundations for a house that is to go to Mr Gerald Jacobs of Mfuleni.

Stewart recalls the day with great enthusiasm. "We would have loved to complete a full house but because of time constraints we could only complete the foundations. Being able to meet Mr Jacobs in person was great though as we got to see who would benefit directly from the day?s work. He was very happy,' said Stewart.

Genevieve du Preez, the project co-ordinator of this ambitious Habitat for Humanity initiative, was full of praise for the GSB students. "Every student was given a tool at the beginning of the day and no one put theirs down until the work was completed,' she said.

"It was a really fantastic day. On Monday I walked into the regional director?s office to tell him what a great build it was. Half of the students dug out the foundations and the other half mixed the cement. It was a big job with 36 wheelbarrows of sand, the same amount of stone and 12 bags of cement needing to be mixed.'

After finishing their work ahead of schedule the students took a walk around the community to see some of the 26 homes that Habitat for Humanity has already completed. They also planted trees in front of some of the new houses.

"We got to experience the atmosphere of the community which was very special,' said Stewart. "The locals showed a huge interest in what we were doing and some people even chipped in to help as well. One of the students brought a few rugby balls with him and handed them out to the kids, and we had a fun game with them.'

The soon-to-be homeowner, Mr Jacobs, showed his appreciation to the students by rewarding them with a warm lunch.

The students, however, feel that it is they who really benefited from the day.
"It feels as though we almost got more out of the experience than the new homeowner will,' said Stewart. "It was such a richly rewarding project for all involved.'

The PGDMP class have more worthy initiatives planned for the future as well. This August they are offering an Introduction to South African Wine course that has been endorsed by the Cape Wine Academy. This fundraising event requires no previous knowledge of wines and costs R850 per person. The proceeds from the course will go to a worthy cause.

For more information contact Steve Stewart on 021 465 3142.

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