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Building Homes, Empowering Women

Women learn to build homes for the needy through the Women Build program in Indiana. (Virginia Carter)
Women learn to build homes for the needy through the Women Build program in Indiana. (Virginia Carter)
October 10, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – A group of women from Indiana is returning home from a week in Canada on Prince Edward Island where they built homes from the ground up.

It's part of Habitat for Humanity's Global Village project.

Lisa Marie Nickerson, associate director of the Women Build program, says volunteers normally tackle projects in their own communities, but they also can take part in annual trips to other countries to help as well.

The Women Build project completes new homes, and also renovates and repairs houses using volunteer labor and donations.

Nickerson says it teaches women on-the-job skills that they otherwise might never get a chance to learn.

"It's not only empowering, but there's also a strong sense of camaraderie to be able to work with other women and Habitat homeowners as they work on their house,” she explains. “You do have a lot of great goodwill and a lot of great feelings that everyone has as they make an impact in their community."

Women Build works on homes year round, but its big event every year is National Women's Build Week, which is centered around Mother's Day. This past May Nickerson says more than 17,000 women participated in projects in all 50 states.

Nickerson says her group advocates for increased access to affordable housing around the world, but it also requires those for whom they are building homes to participate in construction and some of the financing.

She says it's important that these families feel they're part of the process.

"Our volunteers know that we're not just putting a Band-Aid on a solution for affordable housing but that we're joining families to build that strength, stability and self reliance," she explains.

The Women Build program has several chapters in Indiana, including in Indianapolis, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Kokomo and Gary.




Reach Nickerson at: 305-428-8552. Info at: http://www.habitat.org/wb/learn_more.aspx, http://www.habitat.org/gv

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN