BPTT and Habitat partnership transform lives

October 31, 2012.

It was with heartfelt gratitude that Jaiwantee Singh and her four children accepted the keys to their brand new home in Valencia last Saturday, built through a benchmark collaboration between energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago and the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Jaiwantee’s daughter, Damanie, 17, expressed the family’s appreciation for the magnanimous gesture. “Our family is immensely thankful to everyone who made this moment a reality, and this is the best early Christmas present we could ever get. I’m glad because my mother has worked hard and prayed for a home for us for over 20 years, and now she can have peace of mind. It was also inspiring for me to be part of the construction that was handled by women. This experience has shown me that we can each make a difference and that as a woman, there is nothing that I can’t achieve,” an emotional Damanie said.

Finishing touches to the home, including priming and painting, were completed on the day of the handover ceremony. As part of the ‘Women’s Build’ initiative, more than 300 female volunteers, including bpTT personnel, worked tirelessly over the past five months to ensure that the home would be completed well in time for the Christmas season.

Margaret Warner-Julien, Government & Stakeholder Relations Adviser, bpTT, underscored the value of the collaborative effort: “We are proud of this partnership with Habitat, which supports our corporate aspiration of positively impacting the lives of citizens across the country. It was also an honour to share in the passion and energy of so many other women who worked hard to build this safe, secure and beautiful home for the Singh family. We look forward to other projects like this as bpTT continues to impact lives in our role as a member of the national community.” 

Completion of Singh’s home represents yet another phase in the partnership between bpTT and Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago (HFHTT) that was set in motion last November. The energy company committed $600,000 toward the construction of four homes, with three already completed and handed over to grateful families in Valencia, Sangre Grande and Guayaguayare.

Natasha Daniels, Programme Manager at HFHTT, explained the significance of the organisation’s work, “Since 1997 we have built and repaired over 260 homes for low-income families as part of our mission to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. This was all achieved through partnership with other organisations and companies, as well as the selfless volunteers who really are the lifeblood of Habitat here and across the world. Our vision is one where everyone has a decent place to live and this partnership with bpTT is energising us toward making that vision a reality.”

As part of the bpTT crew which worked on Singh’s Valencia home, Natasha Richardson, who is attached to the Mayaro Resource Centre, was inspired by the experience. “Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives, we forget that we need to give back and help others. It was great to interact and work alongside Jaiwantee and her family and really see how much this home means to them. This is such a rewarding experience for all of the women involved and it also demonstrates that, like this home, we can unite to build a better nation,” Richardson said.