The mothers, daughters, grandmothers, wives, and sisters of the Knoxville community came together October 1 to begin building a Knoxville Habitat for Humanity home constructed solely by women.
The build is part of the nationwide Habitat for Humanity women build initiative that brings women from all walks of life together, enabling and empowering them to make a difference in their community with hands-on participation.
During the Knoxville Habitat for Humanity Women Build 2011, more than 200 women volunteers are building an entire house from the ground up. Working alongside them are the new homeowners, Mahmoud Dalal and Saba Acdelkadir, who are refugees from Somalia who relocated to the United States in 2009 after ongoing fighting within their country. The couple has two children, Jamal and Amir.
The women volunteers are working on the site at 3621 Lyle Street over the course of six Saturdays in October and November. Starting with only a concrete slab, the women will build the home to completion, from exterior and interior walls to trusses and roofing – even cabinetry and painting, under the leadership of volunteer Lori Gano.
Gano, a licensed contractor in the Knoxville area who has been involved with Knoxville Habitat for Humanity for 4 years, is overseeing the volunteers and providing instruction and support to the women.
“Women Build is important to me because it is an opportunity for women to come out and realize their potential in a situation that is not intimidating and that allows them to give back to their community,” said Gano. “It is so important for potential volunteers to know they don’t need prior experience, all they have to do is show up and they will be taught everything they need to know to be part of this process!”
The homeowners will receive the keys to their home at a house dedication set for November 19.
Funding for Women Build 2011 comes from four Covenant Partners who represent women-owned or women-led businesses in East Tennessee, including Cherokee Distributing, Sunrise Foundation, Camel Manufacturing, and The Trust Company of Knoxville. Habitat for Humanity also has received support from Lowe’s, a nationwide sponsor of the Women Build.
Habitat for Humanity Women Build started in 1991 in Charlotte, North Carolina. As of 2010, Women Build has helped build more than 1,650 houses worldwide.