‘Women Can Do a Lot When They Come Together’

Habitat for Humanity welcomes volunteers for fall projects

Women work on a build site as part of Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region's Women Build program.

Whether they’ve never used a hammer or picked up a paintbrush, women can build confidence and skills through a community initiative that supports affordable housing.

One female’s parging work on a home was so meticulous a housing inspector asked which contractor had been hired to do the job.

Women are getting an opportunity to explore construction and gain hands-on experience through a program called Women Build 2019, hosted by Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region.

Women Build 2019 is currently recruiting more Peterborough and area women to volunteer their time this fall. The building projects currently underway support organizations that have an emphasis on providing housing.

There are benefits to the organization, its clients and the women who take part.

“Women can do a lot when they come together,” Christina Skuce, director of philanthropy and communications, tells Electric City Magazine.

“It’s amazing the skill they can come away with and learn on top of knowing that they’re making a difference in their community.”

Women of varied backgrounds and experience can take part and will all work on the build site. “If they have no experience that’s OK, we just ask people to bring their enthusiasm and their willingness to learn new skills and make a difference.”

Trained construction site supervisors train the women for the work, customizing the instruction based on participants’ experience. Whether Women Build is an introduction to construction for some or familiar to others who have building skills or experience as tradeswomen, the environment is an inclusive one.

“It can sometimes be intimidating to go onto a build site if you don’t have that experience. We really wanted to create that environment where women can come out and feel safe to learn and learn together with other women.”

One of the benefits for the participants is the knowledge they’re making a difference in the community by providing affordable housing for those in need. “They’re building something that’s going to make a huge difference for a local family.”

The current projects support organizations that meet social housing needs in the city of Peterborough and in the City of Kawartha Lakes. Beneficiaries include the YES Shelter for Youth and Families, Daughter Project Canada, The Mount Community Centre and the New Canadians Centre.

Women are completing renovations at those sites, such as building walls, patching drywall, laying flooring and updating bathrooms.

“The youth shelter provides a place for homeless youth to live in safety and security, but they’re not builders,” Christina says about YES. “So that’s where Habitat comes in to help them make those renovations.”

“For women coming out to participate, they’re essentially helping out two charities by lending their support.”

Men are also welcome to participate in Women Build.

For more information and/or to register, visit the website.

There’s a $30 registration fee and each participant is asked to fundraise $250. All proceeds go directly into building.

The revenue is specifically slated for a new 41-unit affordable condo building, located on Leahy Lane, near Parkhill Road East and Armour Road.

Job site photos courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region.

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