Zeles Phiri

"Even when it rains, we sleep well."

In 2017, a group of dedicated Habitat for Humanity GB volunteers set out to help Zeles to improve the conditions of her house.

Zeles is happy to report that the house has brought a lot of joy to her family. “The new house was built with quality materials. ‘Olo vula yalokwa, tigona chabe bwino-bwino’ (Even when it rains, we sleep well). The rain season now brings good tidings and not worry,” Zeles remarked.

Zeles’s husband and three children sadly passed away leaving her as the main care giver to her three grandchildren Charles Njovu age 18, Peter Mwanza age 14 and, Veronica Mwanza age 8. Sadly, due to a lack of income within the household it was extremely hard for the family to afford decent housing.

What does unsafe housing look like?

Previously, the family lived in an old mud structure with poor roofing. Over time the roof began to leak. Their house was always dusty as the floor was made of gravel which resulted in the family suffering from by coughs on a regular basis. The lack of proper windows for ventilation made this even worse.

However, all these problems are now in the past. The new housing has proper ventilation and cement flooring reducing the occurrence of coughs and colds. Zeles now lives in a three-roomed sturdy house with a ventilated pit latrine and washroom.

“Sometimes when it rained, food stuffs such as corn meal would get wet and would go to waste, which was a loss for the family.”

The garden that was constructed has also brought joy to Zeles and her family and is being used to grow beans and wild spinach to eat or sell.

Now that money is not being spent on the house it is much easier for the family to be able to afford food for the day.

Zeles is also happy to report that Veronica is now attending school and is in grade two at Zambia Open Community School.

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