Residents and benefactors unite to house the homeless

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Habitat for Humanity and Delta Airlines handed over four houses in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, last week.

Jubilant residents thanked the nongovernmental housing organisation and the US airline while Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, president of SA Tourism in the US, was present.

Delta Airline was also celebrating its introduction of a direct flight from Atlanta in the US to South Africa for the first time in 22 years.

Through their social responsibility programme, Force for Global Good, employees of Delta helped raise R28000 for the Katlehong community to buy a brick-maker.

Iris Matshinoane, 64, was delighted to move into her new home. Her shack had burnt down in 2004.

"When the bell rang with our needs here in Katlehong, you came all the way from America to help us. We are grateful to you," said Matshinoane.

Mabuza-Suttle commended Habitat and Delta for their spirit of volunteering.

She said: "We are so proud to have you here and contributing to the upliftment of our people."

She also praised Delta for its direct flights to South Africa. Mabuza-Suttle said that tourism contributes greatly to the alleviation of poverty in South Africa.

Peter Francis, a representative of Habitat for Humanity, said entire communities are involved in its housing project.

He said people work together to build one house for one family and then another house for the next family.

Francis said that his nongovernmental organisation had built 17 houses in the Katlehong area.