Habitat for Humanity SA
Every year each Old Mutual employee is given one day’s social responsibility leave to become actively engaged in Care & Share team activities. These volunteerism events involve staff giving their time to participate in community development such as building Habitat for Humanity SA low-cost housing, Mandela Day events or our annual Care & Share Community Engagement. Since 2008, over 17 812 employees have been involved in various events.
Gogo Thembakile Mkhize (74) of Umbumbulu in KwaZulu-Natal has something exciting to celebrate. She is about to move into her first owned brick-and-mortar house. Gogo Mkhize’s current shelter consists of two mud-and-wattle structures.
She shares this with five children and seven grandchildren. Her reality is one of malnutrition, ill health and lack of protection from the weather. “If it rains,” Gogo Mkhize explains, “we must get up to put plastic against the leaks and place containers to catch the water.”
She’s a bit nervous about our visit today, her hands folding and unfolding the apron ties of her neat yellow pinafore dress. Around her wrist is a bracelet of wooden beads depicting Jesus and scenes from the Gospels.
How does she feel about her new house? She laughs, covers her face with both hands. “Yo, it is good!” she exclaims and sets off rapidly in isiZulu, her hands describing arcs with her words. Receiving this house has been an answer to prayer; it is like a dream, she is so happy that she feels reborn, fresh like a young girl. She has already chosen her bedroom, which she points out. “Although I eat little,” she gestures, “I’m gaining weight because of the satisfaction in my heart.”
The Care & Share house building project is a firm favourite with our staff, and since 2003 more than 5 904 employees have participated in building 97 low-cost houses throughout the country, making Old Mutual one of Habitat for Humanity’s top five ‘Big Builders’. In 2011, the Old Mutual Foundation invested R1,3 million to build 14 houses for needy families in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape, and for the first time our subsidiary partners Nedbank, Mutual & Federal, acsis and MS Life built alongside us.