We are excited to give an update on the funds raised during February to support the work of Habitat for Humanity New Zealand in supporting families whose homes have been lost or damaged in Tonga, due to the impact of the underwater volcanic eruption in January.

“We have been amazed and humbled by the response of our donors."

Alan Thorp, Group CEO, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand.

A huge thanks goes out to our network of build partners, consultants, staff and friends who have generously given towards Habitat’s fundraising appeal for Tonga, which Home Foundation has match funded. Your efforts have boosted Habitat’s work by an additional $60,000 in total, including the matched funding from Home Foundation. Habitat says their overall appeal efforts have resulted in almost NZD $500,000 being donated through other organisations and the wider public. In addition, the Government is also providing funding to support Habitat’s work on the ground, which is expected to start around May/June this year.

“We have been amazed and humbled by the response of our donors. Overall, the response is far greater than we planned for and has drawn international support. Special thanks to the efforts of Home, its staff, its wider network and the Home Foundation for supporting our work in Tonga. Your donations will help us to deliver much needed on the ground housing outcomes for our work over the next 12 to 18 months,” says Alan Thorp, Group CEO, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand.

Just this week, the Habitat team updated us on the work they are able to deliver thanks to the money raised, which will be a comprehensive programme encompassing education on preparing for and mitigating future disasters, enhancing understanding of supply chain management and practical repair and rebuild work.

Their goal is to equip families and communities with skills and knowledge to empower them to undertake their own repairs and have the long-term capability to mitigate the impact of natural events on on-going basis.

Habitat’s response will focus on four core areas:

1) Delivering their Participatory Approach to Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) where communities identify, plan and undertake work that helps them to better prepare for future disaster events

2) Build Back Safer (BBS) training, primarily in carpentry and plumbing skills

3) Major repairs / rebuilds for vulnerable households and people with disabilities

4) Enhance supply chain understanding

They will be working with local, on-the-ground partners, based in Tonga. This is exciting, as it enables local delivery of outcomes that are important to local families and communities. It builds skills and capability too, which is part of Habitat’s broader approach to empower communities to be more self-determining.

Now that they have funding secured and an overarching approach to the disaster response agreed with the New Zealand Government, Habitat are developing a more comprehensive project plan. This is being led by a Tonga-based project manager who is mapping out their response working alongside the local community.

In the coming months, we will keep in touch with the team at Habitat and feedback updates on the work that has been funded by this appeal. You can also follow their work in Tonga on their Facebook page. Once again, thank you to everyone who generously gave – it will make a significant difference in many people’s lives.