Nissan and Habitat for Humanity recently partnered for a week long house build in Tennessee with a unique group of volunteers. Participants included Nissan employees and automotive journalists from all over the country who were invited to roll up their sleeves and help build a house.
The partnership between Nissan and Habitat for Humanity started shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Nissan donated $1 million, 50 Titan trucks, and the time of many of its employees to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. Eleven years later, that partnership has expanded to include recovery efforts after the Great East Japan earthquake and home building projects in India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Over the course of a week, participants arrived in Nashville to work on a house for a needy local family. Rahmi and Awadia grew up in Sudan, Africa where life was a challenge. They currently reside in a two-bedroom apartment in Nashville with their three daughters and a limited budget. The house we worked on will one day be their home.
Habitat for Humanity isn’t giving the family a house. They’re giving them an opportunity. Homeowners receive a 30-year interest-free loan, so they’re buying the house volunteers build. The Habitat for Humanity application process includes a thorough background in order to ensure participants will be able to keep their homes once they get the keys.
Homeowners are also required to participate in the build process, not just for their own home, but for the homes of other families in the program. We met Rahmi and Awadi on-site and worked alongside them throughout the day. They were incredibly kind and grateful.
It doesn’t take prior construction knowledge to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build, nor do you need to be in top physical form to participate. There’s so much to be done that there’s work for everyone, no matter their abilities.
Several on-site supervisors guide the build, making sure it stays on track and instructing participants on how to do their jobs. I’ve never built a house. Heck, I’ve never built anything aside from a few pieces of some-assembly-required furniture.
It didn’t matter. By the end of the day, I’d helped put up sheets of insulation and installed windows. Anyone can do this. All you really need is a desire to help and a willingness to give up some of your time to better the lives of others.
Nissan made it possible for me to attend this build and make a difference for Rahmi and Awadi. Find out more about what Habitat for Humanity is doing in your community and you can make a difference, too.