The difference a house makes

If you ever wondered what difference a VBC house makes to a family – you just have to spend some time with P.

This quietly spoken 15-year-old is the youngest of five girls and is so relieved to have a new home to live in, and significantly better living conditions that she could not hold back the tears.

And it seems no one else could either – even the blokes get damp eyes when they meet this generous, humble and grateful teenager.

Our volunteer coordinator, Rorm, describes the family’s previous house as “a really small, really horrible house”.

The fragile home they lived in blew over in a storm four months before VBC was able to organise a new one for them.

P says the old house had many holes in the roof and at night she put tin over her to keep the rain off. She did not sleep well.

P’s dad has a serious lung disease and is mostly bedridden and unable to work. Her four sisters aged between 20 and 28 are all construction workers. They all have partners and several have children. P’s mother looks after the children.

The family often did not have enough money to buy food. Sometimes the neighbours shared rice or the family borrowed from them.

She was worried her parents did not have enough to eat so sometimes she only ate one meal a day, which she got at a non government organisation near her school. But if she was not able to get to the NGO there were days when she did not eat anything.

P, who is studying in grade 8 and likes school, managed to focus and keep going even on days when she had no food to eat.

P’s mum says her youngest daughter had stomach problems from worrying a lot and not eating enough.

Now the family receives monthly rice deliveries from VBC and her mum says it is really important because it provides P with food so she is full when she goes to school.

P is thrilled that she got her two wishes – rice and a house.

She has already made improvements to the upstairs of the house adding tables and splashes of colour to decorate. And she would like to have a concrete floor downstairs and eventually a toilet. At the moment three families share the toilet.

For the moment P is hoping to finish school and would like to be a doctor because she wants to help poor people.

She is excited and happy because before she lived in a very small house; before she didn’t have a bicycle, she just walked to school; before, she did not eat enough because there was not enough rice.

The tears flowed freely from this strong young lady who was relieved and grateful to have a secure shelter to keep the family dry and enough food to eat.

To all VBC’s generous sponsors and volunteers – this is the difference you make in someone’s life.

(We have not disclosed names to protect the privacy of P, who is a minor and has been traumatised by her family’s circumstances.)