Giselle Waithe lived in Maraval but she would often visit her aunt, Albertina Jordan, popularly known as “Tina Jordan,” at Victory Gardens on the outskirts of Arima and help to take care of the older woman.
When Albertina died, she left the property at Victory Gardens to her niece, Giselle and Giselle’s daughter, Azaria.
However, Giselle told Newsday last Wednesday that although she now owned land she did not have the money to build a house. She approached Habitat for Humanity for help but although the charity was willing to help nothing could be done at the time because Azaria, who was named as co-owner on the deed, was only 17 and still a minor.
When Azaria turned 18, Habitat for Humanity began working on the house, pursuing the construction with its customary dedication until completing the basic starter house of two-bedrooms, kitchen, toilet and bath, which Giselle and her daughter now have to turn into a home. “And I was so grateful and thankful,” Giselle said after a brief ceremony at which executives of Republic Bank Limited handed her and Azaria the keys to the house. “Tears came to our eyes.”
Giselle said it was through her uncle that she heard about the charitable organisation. “Because he knew I wanted to do something with the land but he knew I didn’t have the money to do what I wanted to do. She said she applied for their help and was called in for an interview during which she was invited to chose the type of house she wanted, whether prefabricated or concrete construction.
The event was also a celebration for Republic Bank Limited which was marking its five year partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Republic Bank’s general manager, Group, Human Resources, Anna Maria Garcia-Brooks, said “Over the past five years, Republic Bank has been honoured to partner with Habitat for Humanity with funding, donating materials, volunteering in the field; working alongside family members and friends to facilitate the housing needs of sixty families and eight hundred people.
“We too believe in the incredible significance of empowerment that underscores our Make a Difference programme. The philosophy of progression through teaching a person to fish rather than giving them a fish’, has led to lifelong learning, autonomy and self-determination for many of those involved in our initiatives.”
Garcia-Brooks also commended the family on their determination to have a home of their own. “I was able to chat with both of these ladies and I’m so very impressed by their resilience, optimism and generosity. It’s not been easy for Giselle who has serious, and at times debilitating health challenges, but she is extremely dedicated and determined to ensure that her daughter is able to maximise her potential and achieve her career goal.”