Ford Extends Housing Support with Third Phase of Blue Village Project in Uitenhage
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, 7 June 2018 – Informal shack dwellers in Langa, Uitenhage, have been given respite from the upcoming winter weather with the hand-over of 14 wooden houses that local residents will use as transit homes until they receive formal housing from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
As the third phase of what has become known as Ford’s Blue Village, a total of 30 units are being built by project partner and local non-profit organisation, the Al Fidaa Foundation, to provide much-needed relief from impoverished living conditions.
The houses are located on land provided by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, adjacent to the ward councillor’s offices in Langa, and provide safe and secure refuge for approximately 40 residents. This includes young families, as well as the elderly and those living with disabilities – all of whom are identified and selected by the local councilors in conjunction with social workers from the municipality’s Department of Human Settlements. The neat village of 14 units has been provided with a communal tap for easy access to water, and toilet facilities are being added.
“In line with the Ford Fund’s objectives of community upliftment and empowerment, the Blue Village project in Nelson Mandela Bay has become a beacon of hope for people living in impoverished conditions, which become even more dire during the cold and wet winter months,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.
“With the support of the local municipality, the dedication of the team from the Struandale Engine Plant and implementation by the Al Fidaa Foundation, the project has been expanded further in this new phase in Uitenhage, which provides a warm and comfortable place that a further 14 families can call home,” Vella added. “This will dramatically improve the residents’ living conditions, as well as their safety and health.”
Along with elderly recipients, the new wooden houses are home to people who are disabled and not able to work. One of the units is occupied by a child-headed family of four that relies on social grants and the sole income of the oldest sister (22), who has three siblings still at school.
Once appropriate land has been made available by the municipality, construction will commence on the remaining houses that will cater for an additional 16 families until they are allocated permanent homes.
The Blue Village concept was initiated by Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant employees in 2014 in an informal settlement known as Vastrap (an Afrikaans word that means “stand firm”) in Booysen Park, Port Elizabeth, as part of Ford’s annual Global Caring Month.
With funding from the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, five shipping containers were converted into 10 homes for local residents who had been living in makeshift structures constructed from scrap wood and metal.
Additional funds were provided by the Ford Fund to support a second phase in 2015, which saw a further five containers being converted to provide a safe haven for a total of 20 families. A multi-purpose container that serves as a community centre was also added, along with toilet facilities, communal taps, washing lines and cooking areas.