Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2013 Contents BG6 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2013 • WEEK FIVE
Martina Malco-Riley, 48,
is a mother of two from
KP Lands in Valencia.
The house they live in
badly needs repairs and
that's mostly because
she has pumped all her money into her chil-
dren's education. Daughter Hannah has studied
biology at Caribbean Union College.
She lost her family home to fire at an early
age, and her parents and siblings were scattered
between relatives and friends. Unable to com-
plete secondary school, Malco-Riley poured
all of her money and energy into her children
and their educational goals, and is proud of
raising Joshua and Hannah to be disciplined,
hard-working and successful students.
"Our family is very close, very loving. My
goal is that the children do better than me,
so I do what you have to do for family, make
do with what we have, make choices and sac-
rifices for the people I love."
That love is generously shared with the
neighbourhood's children, who come to her
for homework help, to learn to read and write,
and encouragement to stay in school even
when the times are grim.
Soon, though, Malco-Riley will benefit from
a Republic Bank-sponsored house as part of
its pledge of $5million over five years to the
Christian-based non-governmental organi-
sation Habitat for Humanity.
"I do not want my kids to experience the
pain I felt when my family broke up. This
house will mean that I can have my family
back together, all of us at home, living and
loving under the same roof," Malco-Riley said.
Tracy Hutchinson Wallace, assistant to the
fundraising Capital Campaign fund, said, "We
have to build eight houses for Republic Bank
The May 21 Land for the Landless draw
random lottery draw held at the South National
Academy for the Performing Arts, San Fer-
nando, at which 500 people emerged lucky,
has drawn attention to the issue of how do
those who don't now own a home afford one
in a pricey seller's market.
Case in point: a classified ad for a "small
house" in Curepe has a $695,000 price tag;
and that's on the low end of the spectrum.
For low-income owners, that is people whose
gross monthly income is between $1,000 and
$5,000 and want to own a home, there's hope
Hutchinson Wallace said the NGO has
roughly 1,360 applicants wanting to own a
home on its database.
"Most people earn between $3,000 to
$4,000," she said.
"With reference to the Land for the Landless
Programme, HFHTT would be pleased to part-
ner with the families involved. It should be
noted that the grant received does not cover
the full cost of a house. Therefore, for families
with a gross monthly income of less than
$3,000 (and who will also have a foundation
provided by the State), HFHTT will work with
them to complete the structure within our
programme. Those earning between $3,000
and $5,000 may be eligible for our regular
She described those who approach the
Ganesh Sahadeo-chaired Habitat for Humanity,
especially at its public outreach events on the
Brian Lara Promenade, as people who sell pies,
make doubles, work as part-time security
guards and stay-at-home
mothers with children with
such disabilities as autism, cerebral palsy and,
in one instance, brain tumours.
"A lot of stories of hardship," Hutchinson
To qualify for Habitat to build a home for
them, applicants must own land or have legal
permission to build on land from a legitimate
owner. Houses are built at zero interest.
"In most cases, we have been doing some
work with people who had certificates of com-
fort. That is one of our challenges; getting
qualifying families who also have title to land."
And, they must be willing to put in what
Hutchinson Wallace described as "300 hours
of sweat equity."
"That means 100 hours of work on your
house and 200 hours from your neighbour or
someone else in the community.
"Many home partners might be single moth-
ers with large families, people with special
needs. Trinis are generous. Your hours can get
worked by volunteers. It's not a hand out, but
a help up. Many partners insist on paying back
each and every cent," Hutchinson Wallace said.
Habitat's operating expenses are handled
mostly by donations from individuals and
tithes from other Habitat affiliates around the
Hutchinson Wallace explained that each
Habitat national office in the world puts ten
per cent of its funds raised into a general pot.
For instance, Habitat New York plans to give
a percentage of its ten per cent to cover T&T's
Continued on Page 7
Habitat for Humanity offers hope:
house can cost
if you own land
Martina Malco-Riley, left, of KP Lands, Valencia, looks at her humble home in the company of a
A map showing parts of Trinidad where Habitat for Humanity has built homes.
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