The fundraising took place over a period of nearly a year and involved everything from raffles, sponsored walks, quizzes, an Indian lunch, country dancing and fish farm tours.
Homeless International was supported by Spectrum Housing Group as its charity of the year following the input of Anne Wildeman, Group Director of HR and Business Services. Anne saw that the charity was looking for volunteers to help in Namibia and asked staff who would like to get involved. Six were selected following an interview process, and they became known as the Spectrum Six. Fundraising was needed to allow them to travel and so the company decided to support the charity for the whole year.
Anne Wildeman said: “We took a decision to support Homeless International as it seemed a great fit with the vision and values of the organisation. It had the advantage that it helped build houses for people in housing need whilst creating a real team spirit amongst the staff here. Not only was it a worthy cause but we had great fun raising the money throughout the year. So much so, that we will be supporting Homeless international again this year for its Nepal challenge.”
Homeless International works with the Namibia Housing Action Group to facilitate a housing project in the village of Omaruru, the destination for the Spectrum Six. Locals who do not have adequate housing can join the scheme and they then have to save the equivalent of around £300 for a deposit. Most earn their money by making things at home to sell. Once they have a deposit, the house can be built by the community and they then have to pay back a mortgage.
The trip to Omaruru took place in July 2012. The team spent three days working very hard in the village making enough bricks to build two houses, digging foundations for six new homes, dismantling shacks and measuring plots for new foundations.
Ingrid Hoff, one of the Spectrum Six said: “Volunteering with Homeless International was the most amazing experience of my life so far. I got to meet some terrific people and got a unique view of Namibia while working in the slum community of Omaruru. It was hard work in the hot Namibian sun but it was very rewarding. The community touched my heart and the hardest part for me was leaving. At the end of our experience we all left feeling like some real good had been done and we had actually helped to make a difference.”
The six staff raised over £13,000 of the money and the rest came Spectrum Housing Group donations, staff giving Dress Down Friday donations, and from suppliers wanting to support the cause.
Pauline Lewis, Fundraising Officer for Homeless International said: “We are very grateful for the incredible amount of money raised by the Spectrum Six and Spectrum Housing. Not only will this money help some of the poorest people in developing countries to improve their living conditions by supporting families to build a sustainable house that will benefit themselves and future generations, but it will also have a huge impact on the community; improving health and education and bringing changes for many. I was honoured to spend time with such an amazing group of people and thank them for all that they have done and hopefully will continue to do to support the work of Homeless International.”