Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Building Homes - Leading Women into Construction

Photo: A Volunteer Shift During the Women Build Blitz on May, 2009
2009 © + Habitat Toronto's photostream

President Wo-Built Inc. Elida Huignard: My experience volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as part of the team for the Toronto Womens’ Blitz in May, 2009
Because Wobuilt Inc. has a special objective of introducing more women into the skilled trades of the construction industry, when we heard about the Habitat for Humanity Toronto Womens’ Blitz in May of 2009 we wanted to participate in a very significant way.

After several meetings with Arundel Gibson VP of Peoples’ Communication in late 2008, we were able to contribute to the course outline for Crew Leaders. This course was designed mainly for female leaders, and ran in the months of February and March of 2009 at the Habitat University. It included a complete overview of the construction methods used at the Habitat sites, because the majority of women have very little experience in the construction industry. Women were taught how to use carpentry tools such as a hammer, a saw and drill etc. as well as many other skills required in the building trades.

As the project manager of Wobuilt Inc., and having had extensive experience in my field, I was able to join the Womens’ Build as a Crew Leader without going through the required course work. That morning I arrived at the site very early and was quite eager to make a start. Since I had already registered the day before the blitz started, I needed only to sign my waiver (assuming full responsibility for myself at the site). After donning my name tag, I was given a safety talk and the safety equipment that I would require on site. The Volunteer Coordinator was there to guide us and to help find our way around the site as well as providing us with coffee and cookies at the main trailer.

It was raining that day, but I was prepared with my rain poncho, while some of the others were making makeshift raincoats from garbage bags to protect themselves against the elements. We were then divided into teams and because of the rain which prevented us from participating in the building process, we worked on relocating all the supplies in anticipation for the hundreds of volunteers that would be arriving the following weekend. With the help of the Habitat van, we were able to move all the greeting supplies and t-shirts for the volunteers to the Hainford site in Scarborough.

Elida Huignard
Wo-Built Inc.

Look for our next instalment of this amazing experience in future postings on our forum.

Wo-Built Inc. Partners With Habitat for Humanity Toronto's Women Build Initiative
Habitat for Humanity Toronto - The Women Build Blitz - May 1-9, 2009

Arundel Gibson on Twitter

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