Improving Homes and Lives with Sustainable Residential Improvements in Candeia

Midland, MICH. - February 03, 2017 -

Thanks to a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Brazil and Dow, simple and sustainable solutions are changing the lives of 30 families in the community of Vila Esperança, located in the municipality of Candeia, Brazil.

“The Future Starts at Home” project was launched in September 2015, bringing solutions to promote residential improvements in targeted residences in the community, contributing to conservation of water and electricity power, providing thermal comfort by reducing the internal temperature of houses, and improving health and wellness for families and children. The initiative began as a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Brazil and Dow, and is designed to help families with school age children, led by women, or with a family member afflicted with a disease aggravated by the environment.

Inadequate housing conditions can contribute to respiratory and parasitical infections in children, which affects their academic and cognitive development. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, infectious diseases and respiratory infections are the second and the third leading causes of child mortality in Brazil. Additionally, 72.1 percent of school absences among children are caused by health problems, consequently affecting their academic performance. Another problem affecting the full development of low-income children is the lack of an adequate physical environment for them to do their homework, sleep and play. In many cases the whole family lives within just one or two rooms. Deficiencies in the infrastructure of the house, such as failing roofs, mildew and moisture can prevent the healthy environment the children need to thrive.

Luciene Santos is a mother of three minor children who participated in recent home improvements. Previously, her house had no bathroom, a dirt floor, very few windows, poor ventiliation, inadequate electrical service and no running water. Her house was among 30 that were improved with construction of bathrooms and repair of precarious roofs, along with installation of ceramic floors, windows, ventilation and electrical services.

The recent project renovated a total of 30 houses that are home to more than 100 people, including 46 children. The families participate in all stages of the project and pay a percentage of the project cost based on income. The value recovered is re-applied to the program of residential improvements. Up to 70 percent of the improvement costs may be subsidized by the project for some families.