Homelessness and poverty continue to be pressing issues. However, the Vincentian Family’s dedication and love for people experiencing homelessness is making a significant impact, spreading its reach to multiple countries and touching the lives of many people in need. Vincentians are not only providing them with a place to call home, but they are also breaking the cycle of poverty. Today, we celebrate some of the remarkable projects that have been part of the “13 Houses” Campaign in Africa.
In a rural Moroccan town situated just 7 kilometers from Oulad Ouchih, a heartwarming story unfolds. With the involvement of the Daughters of Charity, a family of four experiencing homelessness found a new home. The construction project began in May 2022 and was completed in October of the same year. The family’s father is a mason’s helper, so he was able to actively participate in the works.
The inauguration of the new dwelling was an occasion marked by the presence of family members, community members, and project contributors. The smell of delicious Moroccan treats filled the air as everyone celebrated this big accomplishment. The Sisters continue to support the family, encouraging the education of the children, and employment of the mother in the surrounding agricultural farms. Their journey from a small room in their grandparents’ house with no furniture, to having their own land and home is a testimony to the power of community.
The Vincentian Family in Moyamba in Sierra Leone embarked on a mission to bring transformation to the lives of Alfred Kagbo and his son, Emmanuel Kagbo. The family, facing dire living conditions in an old school hall with leaky roofs and broken windows, found hope thanks to the project led by the Vincentian Fathers, Congregation of the Mission. A new home, complete with a room, parlor, and veranda, was built thanks to the contribution of volunteers and local organizations (the VMY and the CYAF, Catholic Young Adult Fellowship) to provide them with a safe and dignified space.
The completion of the project meant more than just a physical structure; it was an opportunity for Emmanuel to have a conducive environment for his personal growth and education. In April 2023, on Divine Mercy Sunday, the house was officially handed over to the Kagbo family, marking a significant milestone in their journey towards a better life.
In Kenya, the “13 Houses” Campaign found resonance through the St. Louise de Marillac program. This initiative addresses the needs of vulnerable communities, including food, medical care, education, and housing. In Kitale and Kakamega, five families were identified as beneficiaries, each facing unique challenges such as domestic violence, unemployment and poverty.
The completion of these houses in January 2023 brought about a sense of security, stability, and improved living conditions for these families. Education, livelihoods, and overall well-being were given a boost as these families could now focus on their growth and development. The children can study in a safe environment and the heads of the households can continue working at their small businesses for their livelihoods.
The Daughters of Charity in Mauritania completed the first phase of their project by building homes for two families living in extremely precarious conditions. Edide, a young woman burdened by past hardships, was now provided with a space to nurture her family. Salem, caring for his siblings after the loss of their mother, found solace and stability in a new house.
Both families actively participated in the construction process. They also have a small piece of land where they can grow their fruits and vegetables, whilst the children can continue their education.
The Sisters are presently focused on constructing two more homes for families in need, along with building a boutique that will enable a woman to launch her own small business.
In Botswana, two sisters raising their families found themselves in overcrowded and inadequate living conditions. With the support of Rev. Anthony Kornu, the Sisters from the St Bridget’s Catholic Mission in Tonota stepped in to provide them with suitable homes, marked by better living spaces and sanitation facilities.
This initiative was crucial as the women do not have husbands and support for housing. Many women in the area face similar challenges, leaving them struggling to provide for themselves and their children.
Following the June 2023 blessing of the new homes by Bishop Rebello (watch the video here), both women are now pursuing independence. Bajaki secured a job in Gaborone, while Oaanketse is working and receiving monthly contributions.
Initiated in June 2022, the 13 Houses Project in Magude set out to construct five homes and improve livelihoods for families in need. Focused on addressing inadequate housing, this effort was aligned with the church’s ongoing support for vulnerable families through the Vincentian Family and the charitable sector.
Involving beneficiaries in the project led to positive outcomes, alleviating their challenges and fostering community awareness. Collaboration from the charity sector, the Nucleus of Prayer, Jumar, the Vincentian Family, and the parish council bolstered success, raising community support.
By October 2022, all five families – totaling 17 individuals – had benefited. The project not only provided new homes but also livestock, seeds, and support for small businesses.
This project centered around the construction of a home for Mengue Dorothée, a 31-year-old single mother. Having endured the challenges of raising her children alone, abandoned by their father, she gained strength by selling cassava sticks, supported by the funding from the Daughters of Charity. Previously residing in a rented room, her four children experienced educational setbacks due to financial constraints.
However, thanks to the combined efforts of the Vincentian Family on the ground, the new house was inaugurated during a heartfelt mass led by the Visiteur, Father Guenolé Feugang, CM, President of the Vincentian Family in Cameroon. This event marked a new chapter in Mengue’s life.