Friday 14 November 2008

Working with Habitat for Humanity

We've a large number of articles in this blog looking at the supply chain in getting t-shirts to us in the UK; it's time to look at the other side of that supply chain, at our customers, how our t-shirts help them and how they in turn help others.

While the clients we supply with clothing are mainly situated here in the UK, the work they do spans the globe. One such client is Habitat for Humanity, an international charity dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing and homelessness around the world. Founded in 1976, and now working in more than 90 countries, Habitat for Humanity have built, repaired or renovated over 300,000 houses in partnership with people in need of safe, decent homes. They run an international volunteering programme, Global Village, where individuals or groups can visit projects and actually work hand in hand with homepartner families to build safe, decent homes.

We got involved with Habitat for Humanity when they were let down by another firm of t-shirt printers. They were soon able to establish our ethical credentials (very important to a charity looking to relieve housing poverty, sometimes in locations where less ethical manufacturing practices may be commonplace) and we were able to supply them with the quality they needed and meet what had become a very tight deadline.

As a result, Habitat for Humanity were able to send their volunteers to a variety of locations where the wearing of the t-shirts by the volunteers helps spread the word about the charity and what they do.

Habitat for Humanity now carries out its work in more than 90 countries around the globe - including most locally two projects in the UK at Liverpool and Southwark. In the image we find our t-shirts being worn by volunteers helping with construction work in Cluj in Romania. The economic and social legacy of years of oppressive rule in a Soviet style economy has left many in Romania without decent shelter. They are forced to live in cold, damp crowded housing, often in high rise apartment blocks, but at the other extreme in older wooden homes that are literally rotting.

What the Habitat programme does is help needy families build their new homes and live in them at a cost that is affordable in the local economy. The homes you see being constructed use a wooden frame structure and sandwich-type walls made of modern thermo-insulating materials. Even though properly heated, living in these homes will use a fraction of the energy of the older drafty colder housing stock still endemic in Romania. The same environmental considerations that helped Habitat for Humanity choose Pier 32 to supply clothing are put into practice in the work they do across the globe.

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