Making an impact in just a short space of time

A common purpose, willing volunteers, and hard work can make a huge difference in just a few short hours. An army of bpTT volunteers partnered with Habitat for Humanity to take part in the United Way National Day of Caring on Sunday 18 May, 2014. Over 175 employees from bpTT, their families and friends worked in a true “One Team” effort to assist six needy families to complete their homes. In an effort to touch each corner of the country, volunteers completed building work in every corner of the country – Arima, Arouca, Carapichaima, Mayaro, Guayaguayare and La Romaine.

Owning a home is a noble undertaking especially for families surviving on a basic income. Keys were handed over at three locations: Arouca, Carapichaima and Mayaro. After many years, in some cases decades, finally being able to move into a home was overwhelming for some.

Carlos Greene, a Paralympic athlete who has represented Trinidad and Tobago at the international level, and a bpTT Olympic Ambassador for the London 2012 Games, has been building his home brick by brick for the past 14 years. At the handover ceremony Greene was overcome with emotion and cried openly sharing: “I want to say thanks to all of you for literally demonstrating your love towards our family.” Greene lives with his wife and three daughters. Leading by example, Norman Christie, bpTT Regional President, and a team of 30 volunteers worked to finish painting the interior and exterior of the house in just a few hours.  

Christie also presented a cheque for $960,000 to Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago, representing the extent of the work completed on the various homes. The company has partnered with Habitat for Humanity over the past 15 years to provide homes for deserving citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. 

“Volunteerism is an integral part of bpTT’s philosophy, with our employees investing their time and talents on a year-round basis on diverse activities and projects in communities throughout the country,” Christie pointed out.

For the DeBance family, having lived in a basic ply-board structure for over 15 years, it was truly a blessing. Radhica DeBance said: “I am grateful to all of the volunteers who made owning our home a reality. Habitat for Humanity and bpTT has changed our lives and we are excited that we can enjoy our new home at last.” Volunteers worked feverishly to complete paint work on the interior walls and to cast aprons and drains around the perimeter of the house in Arouca. 

An emotional Anthony Charmaine was overwhelmed by the efforts of volunteers who completed work on her house in Mayaro. “I have always longed to have a home of my own and was surprised at how quickly it was constructed,” she admitted, before adding: “My children can study for exams in a safe space.” 

Michalan Joseph, a Communications and External Affairs Challenger and bpTT’s coordinator of the Day of Caring activities said: “This collaborative project with Habitat for Humanity was meaningful for me. I count it a privilege to be able to assist these families in completing their homes. The speed at which teams worked on the day stood out…it’s amazing how quickly we were able to make a big difference in such a short time-frame”.

Prior to the Day of Caring, bpTT employees at both the Port of Spain and Galeota sites donated food stuff and clothing to put together hampers for each family. 

The United Way National Day of Caring 2014 demonstrated a partnership between bpTT and United Way Trinidad and Tobago (UWTT) which began in 2004. BPTT employees also volunteered at last year’s Day of Caring and worked together to make a difference at numerous children’s homes across the country. 

This year, bpTT was one of 72 companies to participate in the United Way Day of Caring. Over 2,700 volunteers from these organizations took part in a range of projects ranging from repairing schools, planting gardens, cleaning beaches and upgrading facilities in both Trinidad and Tobago. 

Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT said, “This project was truly a great undertaking and is the first time we volunteered to build six homes on the same day. It has been a privilege to be able to contribute in this way.  BPTT is proud to sponsor Habitat for Humanity to further their efforts to help build a world where everyone has a safe, affordable, decent place to live.”