I was driving past an informal settlement called Phumas'bethane (literally "come out let's fight!") when a saying I have heard many times came to mind: "We are all we have. No one is coming to save us!" An idea hit me like a ton of bricks..... If I could get some help, I could train people from communities just like this one to build their own homes. So, I'm doing just that!
I'm appealing to all of you individuals, friends, family, colleagues, and organizations to help me realize this dream. I plan to approach individuals and organizations to provide skills and any other resources to enable me to plan, model, establish good teams and develop houses, at the same time training youth in construction trades.
Phumas'bethane is in the Vaal, in Gauteng, South Africa, but you'll find communities like this across the country. Imagine a place that looks like a tornado raged through a scrapyard, collected pieces of new and rotten the corrugated zinc and spit it out in one location. Old carpets from the landfill are used by most as paving. On rainy days, children play in pools of mud as parents down moonshine under a makeshift veranda and insults fly at the highest volume.
As a person who has overcome challenges and achieved skills and experience to the point that I can now call myself a building contractor, I know the power of "paying it forward" in every success that I achieve. I am positive that this initiative is going to empower not only me but will make a big difference to the livelihoods of many young people. To all "come out let's fight" communities I say "Come out let's build!"